Tuesday 5 January 2010
Highlights: Sun Temple, Exploring Inca Ruins
We decided to forgo the free breakfast at the hotel and instead went to ‘Jacks’ were I had the ham & cheese toast, Andrew went for the pancakes. The serves were huge and no one managed to finish. Gareth, Emma, Kelly & Karen decided to head up to the Christ Statue overlooking the city while Andrew and me decided to do some shopping for the Inca Trail before exploring in the afternoon.
In the early afternoon we welcomed back Shrina, Kate and Indu from their short Amazon adventure. Gareth, Emma, Kelly, Indu and I then headed out on a city tour.
The first stop was the Sun Temple which actually dates before the Inca civilisation but grow under their stewardship. The temple used to be full of gold, statues lining the walls and the floors. The Spanish quickly decided to take control 500 years ago and melted it all and took it back to Europe.
We skipped the Cathedral leg of the tour with Kelly and Indu needing some food. After this point we came to the main reason for the city tour – the Inca ruins.
We visited four sites; Saqsayhuaman, Pukapukara, Tambomachay and Q’engo. The ruins are massive which I think the photos demonstrate. I was impressed with the high altitude Tambomachay site which included a fire station to communicate with those far away.
At the Q’engo site we learnt how 20% of the bones found here are human, demonstrating that human sacrifices did indeed happen. I was very glad we did this tour or at least we visited the Inca sites. The tour itself was a little rushed and had too many tourists for the guide to be able to always communicate effectively.
After the tour the entire group met up again for the first time in 3 days and we received our Inca Trail briefing and our camping gear. This obviously makes it more real. We learned how we will complete the 45 km hike and received a few tips like to use sunscreen all the time even when raining.
Tomorrow we move to a smaller town closer to the Trail, we leave our backpacks at this hotel meaning we only have minimal gear for 4 nights and only 3.5 kg limit for our day packs which support staff will carry between locations. Time will tell whether we packed correctly, we’ll have no internet access, TVs or most electronic equipment for the next 4 days.