Four days in Cusco to acclimatize for the Inca Trek. A great place to do that. Crammed with historic buildings, cobbled streets and yummy cafes. We mainly chilled out, wondered the city and got stuff for the trek. It was wierd having to adjust again to the high altitude, cusco being at 3360m above sea level, which left us feeling pretty rough for a couple of days. We watched two parades on seperate days, one of the local schools and the other of the armed forces, both of which brought out the crowds. Had another spanish lesson, and couldn´t work out if we were more confused before or after!
Four day Inca Trek
Day one: Got picked up early and taken by coach to Ollyantambo, where we got to know our group of 16 people over breakfast. It was then another 30 minutes to the start of the trail. The first day was explained to us by our guide as ´flat, not gringo flat though, thats highway flat`. It was abit up and down but really rather easy, a nice way to get used to our boots and heavy packs. The weather was glorious. The trek followed the river, passed pretty flora and we got the chance to see two hummingbirds. We stopped at our first Inca site, a small inca town which we looked down on from the fort on the mountain side. When the group stopped for lunch we were shocked by the five star service! Tables with tableclothes on, and three courses. We all wondered how the porters brought it all, then we remembered the size of the packs they were carrying! Just before we reached the first camp, we stopped at a house selling Chicha, a local brew made from corn, the group toasted to a good trip on dirt cheap beer, and pretty dirt tasting too. At camp that evening we had more amazing food, and were treated to the stariest of nights!
Day two: Another early start for what was to be the hardest of the four days. The climb up to Dead womens pass, the highest point at 4200m, was broken into three parts. The first wasn´t too testing, however the second and third parts were. Many steps! When we got to the top it was such an amazing feeling! We have to be thankful for our zanny guide and his supply of coca leaves. The views back down the valley with the glacier on the horizon was worth the sweat and slog! The second nights camp was half way down the otherside. The descent was all steps, luckily our knees held out well!
The highest point of the trek (Dead Womens Pass 4200m)
Day three: The longest day walking, but also the most beautiful, with many Inca sites, interesting flora and surrounded the whole time by mountains and glaciers. From the highest point of the day, in accordance to custom we did a ceremony to the Inca Gods for safe passage through. Which involved carrying a stone up from the bottom and coca leaves as offerings. We were on the top of a mountain pass where the views either side were second to none! We descended to a small Inca site and up again to have lunch on top of another mountain. Then 2000 steps down to the third nights camp, where we were able to get our first shower and a cold beer.
Day four: 4am start inorder to catch the first sun come over Machu Picchu. It was a fairly easy 2 hour trek to the sun gate, where we sat and waited for the morning fog to clear to reveal the Inca city. It was so exciting as it cleared! We then walked down the path as the Incas did to the city. The weather was amazing, it really couldn´t have been any better! We had a short tour of the city and then went exploring by ourselves. Everywhere we turned was a great photo! It was interesting learning about how the city was built in accordance to their belief in four Gods; the earth, sun, water and wind. The places of worship were even more beautifully constructed, with no gaps at all in the stone work. Many of the buildings were built arround and using the rocks already there, so houses would often have a wall which was one rock! We got a sense of how clever the Incas were aswell; they had buildings on small stone balls and triangular door frames, to protect against earthquakes, and terraces all around to prevent errosion, also water ducts to stop buildings subsiding. So interesting and truely breathtaking!!!
The whole four days were a real highlight for Rick and I. The group, guide and trek were fantastic. We couldn´t have asked for anything more!!!
Temporary until we add our even sunnier photos!