Trail to the Lost City of the Incas
26.10.2010 - 31.10.2010 73 °F
We hope all is well with everyone and that you enjoyed Halloween! We spent Halloween with an 8 hour layover in Lima (so we headed to Larcomar –a massive outdoor Cliffside mall (thanks Bart for mentioning it). It was cute to see that all the kids there trick or treating in the mall going from shop to shop and just shouting “Halloween!!!”
The big adventure since we left Pisco Sin Fronteras is that we did the classic 4 day Inca Trail trek. First we arrived in Cusco, Peru from Lima to acclimate for a few days...we found that burgers and beer helped the acclimating process. We really enjoyed Cusco after our time in Pisco. The central Plaza de Armas area of the city was so beautiful - very european-cobble-stone streets and little alleys. It´s the oldest continuously inhabited city in South America.
The Inca Trail was AMAZING. Truly some of the most breathtaking scenery and it all felt more fulfilling knowing we were working our butts off just to be standing just under 14,000 feet in the sky overlooking the Andean mountains. Our first day started off rough with a downpour and heavy winds, but by the lunch break the rain had stopped and the temperature had risen significantly. Basically each day we woke up between 5:30am and 6:00am to our wonderful porters tapping on our tent offering us morning tea. Dress, pack up sleeping bags and sleeping pads and clothes, eat breakfast and begin hiking. Hikes ranged from comfortable inclines to deathly peaks and valleys. Weather would go from cold to hot to freezing in no time at all. It was all gorgeous, difficult, and fun.
Our last day we only had about 2.5 hours total to hike into Machu Picchu. Our agency had us up before all the other companies so we could be the first ones in to the Sun Gate. That meant we were up at 3:00am and hiking to the checkpoint at 3:30am. We then sat at the checkpoint for 1.5 hours waiting for it to open at 5:30am just as the sun came up. Tim and I played cards with our dorky headlamps on the whole time. As the sun rose high in the sky we all cued up and we were up front. Then someone shouted, “ Sh@#! Look at those spiders!" and 50 heads looked up to see about 4 massive tarantula-looking spiders just above the ticket window (only 5 feet above where I´d been peacefully sitting playing cards). I screamed (only one to do so) and as soon as my guide handed my ticket over I sprinted through the entrance gate. We kept up the pace for the next 45 minutes arriving at the Sun Gate about 35 minutes ahead of schedule. Tim arrived at the Sun Gate in Second Place, and I was close at his heels.
The trek was ridiculously difficult at times, but it was well worth it. We met some great people in our group from London, Canada, Germany and, of course, the U.S.
We had two days back in Cusco to rest before Rio. We will follow up with a Brazil post shortly (we LOVE Brazil).
Lots of love,
Kate and Tim