Well this part of the trip was something which both Min and I were looking forward to, the Inca Trail and the Inca City of Machu Picchu. The walk itself was a 4 day walk but unlike any I have ever done before, we only had to carry our day packs.
The first thing I have to mention about the walk is about the porters. These guys come from both the Sacred Valley of the Incas and also from Cusco. Usually they are farmers, who leave their farms with their wifes and children to run them, while they come and earn some extra cash on the Inca Trail (all 125 Peruvian Soles or approximately $62 Australian dollars + tips). These guys carry all the tents, food, gas bottles, our bags, the lot. And it should be mentioned that they do this not in comfy backpacks but usually in sheets which they tie a knot in under their chin to grip onto. Half of them also wear only sandles, which wouldn't have been too warm when it was hailing on our second day. Their efforts, unbeleivable.
The trail itself was around 40 kms and was completed over 4 days. The highest point was at dead womans pass on the second day with an altitude of approximately 4200 metres asl. It was quite interesting again walking at this altitude, and I would have like to have tried it with my proper pack rather than a day pack. It ws quite funny, us walking slowly up the pass as the porters flew up there with 5 times the load!
We had two unluckly elements to our Inca Trail walk though. The first being the weather. The first day was the only fine day of the trip. On the second and third days, it belted down and even hailed as mentioned above! Luckily for the last day we managed to get some nice breaks in the fog to see and experience Machu Picchu. The second bit of bad luck came in the way of gastro. On the third and fourth days, a fair proportion of the group were hit with a big bout of gastro, and bugger it, I was one of the victims! Luckily after having a couple of moments saying "ralph" in the bushes, and having Min feed me a constant stream of lollies and manderin, I managed to get to the end of day 3!
On the night of day 3 the sick retreated from the tents to the hostel and rested. It was well worthwhile also as we had a 5 am start to get to Machu Picchu before the flood of train tourists (The only way to Machu Picchu is to walk or catch a train). The site itself was awesome. Absolutely amazing that this ancient society could build by hand a city on a mountain.
After a tour of the site, we ventured down to the town and some of us managed to eat a tad. The last exciting part of the experience was the train ride back to Cusco, much easier than walking I say!
Anyways hope you are all well! Yoshi and Min!