Peru Day 8: Machu Picchu!
And now for the last day of the Inca Trail trek. We started the day "bright and early"... well, at least early... at 3:40am. Ughhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! haha. We did a quick packup and brekkie of pancakes, jam, coffee, and said goodbye to all the porters taking the early train back. After a quick cleanup, we rolled out and hauled it to a big lineup that was only 5 minutes away. This was a lineup at the final checkpoint before heading up to the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu, and they held us there until it was safe and light enough to start the trek. We were there for about 30 min, slowly waking up. We got through the checkpoint and walked up towards the Sun Gate. This trail was super easy in comparison to the other days of the hike, or "easy" I suppose compared to any reasonable hike we've ever done :) There were still some big steps up and some very steep parts that required you to almost crawl up.
|Up super early, and on our way to the sun gate|
|Intipunku, the sun gate|
|Oh, hello there|
We made it!!!!!!!!! At the sun gate, above Machu Picchu. Congrats team!
|The sun comes up and shines some light on this gloriousness|
|Ahhh, so THAT's why they call it the "Sun gate"|
|Our group with our two epic guides|
|Machu Picchu from above|
|Early-bird tourists hiking the upper portion of the Machu Picchu site|
|The clouds burning off|
|We're literally in the clouds right now :)|
|The sun revealing more of Machu Picchu|
|Everyone basking in the awesomeness and our achievement of the Inca Trail|
|Our awesome group!|
|Last part of the hike towards Machu Picchu|
|Dropping off our packs in the storage area and patting a local dog|
|Edwin telling us about the history|
We walked around to different places inside of Machu Picchu with Edwin, and he explained lots of different things. The stone walls were round and meticulously crafted. Edwin told us how they broke large rocks apart, and it was quite ingenious, they took wood and made small holes in the boulders along straight lines in the rock. Then then pushed the wood into the holes in the rock and poured water onto the wood. The wood expanded and then cracked the boulders along those straight lines, breaking them apart. Very cool!
Edwin continued to tell us more about the site, why the Spanish never found it (you can't see it from anywhere really) and he also discussed issues with its preservation. It was all fascinating info. He then showed us the meaning of the Southern Cross, the "Chicana". This has an Incan spiritual meaning and relates to all the things we've learned so far on the trip - the 3 statues together that we've seen is related to this too, the Condor ontop of the Puma ontop of the Snake, representing the upper world, the current world and the under world. Very fascinating and an awesome explanation tying all of the pieces of our trip together.
|Here it is!!!! Machu Picchu!!!!|
|Kev - relieved and happy to be there|
|Me - I can't believe we did it!|
|Our amazing group|
|A baby Llama|
|Me and Grits|
|Ugh so tired|
|Super pleased with our effort|
It was about 11am and the heat was really getting to me, I was pretty darn exhausted and was getting dizzy and was pretty psyched just to head to Aguas Calientes. We had fortunately planned another full day at Machu Picchu for tomorrow due to Frank's genius, so we could easily see it all tomorrow. So we decided to head out and take the bus to Aguas Calientes and get out of the sun. We dropped stuff at our hotel and it was SO awesome to be back in Civilzation. Clean, hot water!! Showers!!!!!!!!!! We were so psyched and all took showers as quickly as humanly possible. I have never been so happy to see a goose/duck-shaped folded towel in my life.
|Back at the hotel, oh man it's a towel! A bed! Clean sheets! A SHOWER!!!!!|
We then headed out to meet the rest of the group at El Allyu restaurant, a place where everyone from Peru Treks tends to meet up. Kev and I shared a Family Sized "Pizza de Fruitas" which was FRIGGIN' AMAZING. Plantain, pineapple, peach and papaya!!! Whaaat! It was so glorious. Also: Beer!!!
|And... Pizza. This was glorious, it was a fruit pizza|
|Frank's face upon seeing the Pizza|
|Christy and Mary, psyched to be done the hike|
|Tired and happy|
After lunch and goodbyes, Mary walked with us over to a corner store and helped us buy Peruvian chocolate (she's been living in Peru for a while and knows everything well). The key winner here was the Nestle Sublime Extremo. Jess in particular loved that one and we crushed a few of them in next-to-no time at all :) And so begins the great journey in replenishing our calories from the past few days :)
We headed back to the hotel and chilled out for a while, there was internet so it was a good time for some chillin' and Facebooking. We had a really large lunch so we went out after several hours to just wander and look for some smaller items to bring back to the hotel for dinner.
|I could really use a Hot Shawer|
|Wandering the Aguas Calientes main square at night|
|Other side of the tracks|
|Looking for food|
|Funny dog we found|
|Cool grains and stuff|
|Grits excited tha we found this place|
|Some cheese open next to random meat, but looked clean, we bought the cheese and it rocked|
I found some yoghurt and excitedly bought it, later to find out it had expired a few months before and I didn't want to chance it. We got more chocolate of course, and some juices. We also happened upon the local fruit market which totally rocked. We got mini-bananas, chirimoya, passionfruit and queso cheese. Frank, Jess and I sat on the balcony and just looked out over the city of Aguas Calientes, only a few lights still on in the distance. It was so nice and just perfect to enjoy the breeze and talk about the great experience we all just shared in together.
|Sitting out on the balcony, enjoying the evening air and eating lots of tasty fruit and cheese|