Sunday 10 January 2010
Highlights: The Inca Trail landscape, The Sun Gate, Exploring the Machu Picchu Ruins
Inca Trail Day 4
A very early 4 am start to the day. Andrew got in around 11 pm last night from the local bar so he was not exactly Mr Sunshine that early in the morning. It was much more difficult backing today as we had to use our torches to see being so dark. Andrew can’t get his sleeping mat into the provided bag so I helped stuff it into our holding bag.
Breakfast was fairly quiet and also small; everyone was keen to get going. We lined up at the check point early around 4.40 am waiting for it to open at 5 am so we could behind the last leg. Most of the campsite had the same idea but we were near the front of the line. Luck was smiling on us as we had a clear day – brilliant.
The idea was to move quickly and get to the Sun Gate as quickly as possible. After my knee problems yesterday I had applied a large dose of Kelly special cream which made things much better. Our pace was very quick; we only stopped once to look at the sights. At one point there as a ‘ladder’ of all of stones that as hard to climb. We got to the Sun Gate which overlooks Machu Picchu around 6.30 am. The view was magnificent and definitely worth the effort.
The bad thing was we had to then hikes down for about 40 minutes which put a lot of pressure again on my knees but I managed to survive better than yesterday. At a mid point on the way down we sacrificed Andrew to the Gods.
Arriving in the ruins of Machu Picchu we had to give up our walking sticks which were one of the best investments I had ever made.
The city is amazing, the Spanish never got here but it was abandoned because the Incas thought they were coming so this meant the site is fairly much the same as it as in 1532. The design is way ahead of its time. We spent about 3 hours exploring the city.
We then headed down to the modern city below which only exists for the tourism (until 1925 there was nothing local). As soon as we hit the restaurant it started raining again underscoring how lucky we were with the weather.
At this point we had a surprise guess in the returning Titch which really went down well. After a 1.5 hour train ride in which I enjoyed the views and Andrew, Kelly and Karen’s company we transferred to a private bus for another 1.5 hour drive back to Cusco.
Again it rained the entire time. 10 minutes after checking into our hotel Andrew and me had to change rooms due to rain water falling from the roof.
The celebrations started at Fallen Angel during which Titch gave presents to everyone, I got a couple of gifts from him the best being my soccer shirt. We celebrated Emma & Gareth’s 6 month wedding anniversary as well as my birthday again. I got a great chocolate cake and a few free beers and Andrew paid for my dinner. In the end headed for a bar to celebrate finishing the hike I left about 1.30 am but the others kept going despite us all having been up for around 22 hours at that point.