|So the day finally arrived, off to Machu Pichu to see the greatest inca ruins of them all...and one of the 7 wonders of the world. We woke up at 4:30am...in order to catch the 1st bus up the mountain. Great, excited to see the ruins...BUT 4:30 is pretty early! Kim rolled over in the morning and exclaimed "I HATE MACHU PICHU!"...best quote of the trip so far. We all headed out in the dark for the bus, along with hundreds of others. The bus ride up we were all crossing our fingers that we'd be able to see some sun, but there was heavy fog from all the rain the day and night before so we knew were probably weren't going to see the beautiful sunrise. oh well.
Walking up to the entrace from the bus, there was a great sense of anticipation, and finall there it was... the Inca city was one of the largest, housing 1000 people and full functioning. the beauty of it was it was pretty complete and never found by the spanish who destroyed alot of other inca buildings when they came to Peru (FYI, we're now history buffs about the inca empire, it's so interesting!). We spent a few hours with a guided tour, taking photos and enjoying the spectacular views. At 9, it was time to decide what to do with our free time till about 12 when we'd have to head back to the bus.
There are a few places where you can climb to get great views of the ruins, and we decided to try the hardest one, Waynu Pichu, based on Stacie's recommendation!
Unfortunately we had to wait in line for a while as it didn't open until 9, meaning we missed out on seeing some of the other parts of ruins. There were four of us, myself, the young irish couple and the the older irish woman. Wayna Pichu is the mountain you see behind the ruins in most of the postcard pictures of Machu Pichu. We were told you could climb it in an hour, with another 1/2 hour to come down. Apparently it was very steep, between 70-85 degrees up. We started up and right from the beginning were out breath...how could I be this out of shape I thought!!! (then I blamed it on the altitude...of course!) I hung back with Gerri, the irish woman, and we made frequent stops to catch our breaths. In some parts you needed to a rope to help you up. The views, even from halfway up were FANTASTIC! I couldn't believe I was climbing a mountain...Me. Anyways, I finally left Gerri behind and made a go of going all the way to top. I wanted to stop SO many times but knew I would regret it. Finally I made it to the top, and found Grainne and Richard, the irish couple at the top...what a sense of Achievement!!! I had made it in 50 minuts. A few minutes later Gerri made it too, so happy that we all did it. A quick 20 minutes later and we were back down (some harrowing steps down, let me tell you...one wrong move and you'd be literrally falling down the mountain). After finally reaching to bottom, had some serious mucle and knee pain (those incas built huge stone steps) which I will pay for tomorrow!
It was a quick walk back through the ruins (oh I forgot to mention the sun came out around 9 which was fantastic), and onto the bus...goodbye Machu Pichu! From there we met up with Dave and Gayle, the londoners who hiked the trail. Poor Dave had a stomach infection the whole time they were hiking, he hadn't eaten in days. They said it was worth it, but wouldn't do it again...hmmm. Not sure if I'd attempt it, maybe some day. Back onto a train to Ollyantantambo, then a bus to Cuzco. We're back in Cuzco for 2 nights, then off to our final destination of Puno and Lake Titicacca Friday and Saturday. The trip's coming to and end, how sad. But it's felt so long since we've done so many different things.
My camera ran out of memory card space yesterday...I think I hit 400..whoa. Don't worry, I won't bore you with ALL of them...maybe half?? :)