Monday, 2 September 2013

Cusco and Machu Picchu

The altitude hit us hard, so finding the energy to get out of bed was a bit of a struggle. When we did, we fell for Cusco's charms. For the first time since we've been away, we decided to go on the "free" walking tour to familiarise ourselves with the city. Our guide was a bit of a loon but really enthusiastic and he knew his stuff. He showed us some of the main buildings, told us a bit about the history and treated us to a pisco sours...back at his house!

Kid + llama + Cusco

Kid + Cusco

Model + Cusco


Street + bike

Can I have a pig's head please?

It's Pisco tiiiiimmeee!! 


Burgers as big as our heads

The next day, the time had finally come for us to start our jungle trek to the infamous MACHU PICCHU!! Day one of the three day trip started with a bit of downhill mountain biking (the only kind we will sign up for). We were told that there were brilliant views but unfortunately the day was rather foggy, and all we could see was cloud.

Ready to bike

What we should have seen, and what we actually saw


We stopped for lunch then hopped in a taxi (we chose the non-hiking option) and were taken down a dirt trak, hugging the mountain, to our next port of call, Santa Teresa. With a severe lack of hot water in the hostel (not that we're spoilt or anything), we decided to go for the natural hot springs and what a brilliant decision it was. They were set in the mountains and there was a waterfall to marvel at... we had to be dragged out.

Hot springing it up

The adventure continued the following day, with a spot of ziplining. There five to do, each crossing a huge canyon, putting the fear of God into us as we leapt off the edge.

Ziipp Ziiipppiiiiddddeeee dooooo

Go on slow poke

Whizzing

After lunch it was finally time to do a bit of exercise and we hiked for two and a half hours, from Hydroelectrica to Aguas Calientes; the town at the bottom or Machu Picchu.  It was a nice flat stroll and offered us our first glimpse of the wonderful Inca ruin. After getting the next day's goody bag, we headed to bed early, as it would be an early start to hike up to Machu.

Great backpack

Nice bridge

Having done the nightmare trek up Adam's Peak in Sri Lanka, we thought the one hour hike up Machu Picchu would be a walk in the park. For Park (Kat), it was anything but, and half way up, at around 5:36am, she was to be found weeping on rock declaring she could not go on any further. Imy gave her a swift talking to and by 6am we were at the top. It was definitely the altitude...

An atmospheric Machu Picchu

We had been told time and time again how beautiful Machu Picchu is and we couldn't believe how effortlessly it lived up to it's reputation. As the day went on, our appreciation for it only grew and the hike up to Sun Gate was much more manageable for all involved. Unfortuantely, we ran out of water and headed back down around 2pm, wishing we could have stayed all day.

Off we trek to Sun Gate

A big stone

Loving the Sun Gate view

Bloomin' beautiful

We got the train back to Cusco and slept like warriors after a thirty-year battle. Our last day in Cusco couldn't have been better, as we stumbled across some children dancing in the street. We have no idea why they were dancing, but we loved it!


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