We left Cuzco arround 8am, and got tossed in a van and headed up and over the hill to Machu Pichu. None of us realy had any idea how far the van ride was going to be, but I was thinking somewhere in the 2 hour region, boy was I wrong. The road twised its way to Ollantaytambo, where most people jump off the bus and get onto the train. This is a very expensive option since the train is owned by and european company now and they have made the prices just rediculous. So we pressed on for Hydroelectirca.
The road past Ollantaytambo was the most impresive roads I have ever seen, and made Jordan I drool in disbelief that roads like this exist only when our motorcycles and thousands of miles away. It was probly over an hour up and and hour down of 1/2 - full mile straight aways with hairpins on either end and brand new pavement. Would have been wonderfull. Sage on the other hand was not enjoying tyhe road so much and was starting to get a little pale in the face region. By the time we got to the top and saw that we had just as far to go down she had had enough and made the driver pull over for a few minuates to stop the spinning in her head.
After we left the pavement it was still a good hour till we got to our lunch spot. Oh and we expected to eat breakfast at our hostel before we left but for some reason on that day they didnt feel like making any breakfast so we were all starving. The dirt was a little slower so Sage was in stable condition as we wound through the jungle. It was the first real jungle we have seen, with banana trees everywhere!
Things were looking up and it apeared that the road was going to chill out a little bit but soon agin we started climbing and climbing. This road was just as impressive but in a different way. It clung to the steep mountain side for what seemed like forever about a mile over the canyon floor. I was sitting on the cliff side of the van right at the window and was TERRIFIED! The driver actualy had to get out and move some of the rocks that formed a little barrier so we could get the van by!!! It was about an hour of terror before we got to the town where we ate some food then contiued about 30 minuates to Hydroelectica where we got the train to Aguas Calientas, our base camp for Machu Pichu.
In Aguas Calientas we met with our guide Freddy, who showed us to our hostel and eatting spots. He was a little scatterbrained and realy didnt know what was going on sice some of us had 2 days there while others were only there for 1. He got us our tickets for Machu Pichu and we went straight to bed to get some rest for our 4am departure.
The alarm beeped and no one moved. 4am was a terible time to be starting a hike, but after a while we all realized that we best get moving if we want to see the sunrise. The hike started out quite enjoyable. Even tho it was 4 there were quite a few people stirring arround town. I guess its a popular time to leave. The hike startes with about 20 minuates of flat road walking before the trail heads straight up the mountain for 3 kms of hell. It was one hell of a climb that left me gasping for air quite a few times. Once we got to the top we realized why we left so early, as the line was already quite big and the busses were pouring people in.
We had been told that we were allowed to bring in 20 litres of whatever we wanted, so we packed up some nice lunch stuff and a bunch of water. But at the top there was a stir of people that were pissed of cause they were getting there bags searched and getting told that they couldnt come in with there bags and they had to leave them in the storage area. With some stroke of luck just as we got to the ticket booth, the other side opened up and the guy on that side didnt seem to care at all and just waived us through. Perfect!
We waled for about 500 more feet to where it all opened up and we could see it all. It was amazing, so green and peaceful. Of course there was one more "rush" that had to be done. That huge mountain you see in the back of all the pictures of Machu Pichu is called Huanupich and actualy has a ruin on the top of it and of the thousands of people that come to Machu Pichu everyday, they only let 400 up. So we had to go jump in line to get our stamp so that we could go up. After we got our stamps, we headed to the highest point to watch the sunrise over the mountain.
The sunrise was so beatutif that we missed our tour. Whoops. We figured that we could just wanted and toss an ear in on some other tours that were taking place so thats eaxctly what we did. We wander arround in awe till 10 when the gates to Huanupichu opened when we started another gueling climb to the top. This climb seemed a little easyer for some reason and reach the top in no time. What a view, you can see the intire machu pichu ruin along with the inca trail cut across the mountain.
Huanupichu is crazy, you look at a stone and cant imagine how anyone could have got it there. That one picture of Sage laying in the dirt looking down over the edge is incredable. The pitures dont realy show it but that is a cliff that is over 1km tall!!! and somehow there is a little rock wall along to the top of the cliff. It was terrifying yet amazing.
After we were done browzing Huanupichu we desided to go check out the "great cave" and there was a trail that went down the back side of Huanupichu that apparently went to this so called great cave. After about a hour of walking down and down we were getting a little nervous. Finaly after alot of downhill walking (very hard on the knees) we got to the cave. It was cool and there were even a few other people there wich was exciting since we handnt seen anyone for about an hour of wandering through the jungle. The only problem was that we were exhausted and the hike from the cave back to machu pichu was over an hour!!!! This was hell and just about killed us.
After reaching Machu Pichu completly exhausted and out of water, we recharged and headed for the inca drawbridge. A nice flat walk to a cool little structure built to try to stop intruders from getting to machu pichu. There we ate some palta sandwiches and decided it was time to head back to home base. It was raining at this point and the walk sown to the valley floor seemed like a very long way, but once we got going it was alright and we made it just after dark. We then hit the hot springs for a quick dip in the pools before the power went out and we were sitting in the for some reason, draining pools.
The next moring we headed back to Cuzco arround noon. We had a smaller van this time with AC and Sage sat in the front and had a way better journay. Jordan, Riley and I were in the back having a great time singing along to all the 80´s hits the driver had on his cds. Clare I sang the Rocky tune extra loud for you! We got to cuzco arround 9ish and hit McDonalds!!!!! Its exactly the same as canada, except they provide mayo in the pump beside the ketchup.
We stayed one more night in Cuzco and hit the bus terminal the next day to catch a bus to the coast and that we did. We wanted to go to a town called Pisco, but the bus never stoped there so we continued the 24 hours through to Lima, than grabed some KFC (crazy amount of fast food latley) and continuted a few more hours to Tortugas. It didnt say much about it in the book, but what it did say sounded nice. I supose sometime in the year this is a hip hapenin little town but definatly not at this time of year. We seemed to be the only people in the town and had to walk a few Kms to find and elderly lady to cook us some food.
Speaking of food the guy running this internet cafe seems to want to go and get some of that himself and is closing us down.... More to come. Along with editing.