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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Peru - 3 December, 2001

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Inca Trail Camp Site Day Three (Winay Wayna) S1311.367' W07232.278' 2,705 m
Machu Picchu Ruins S1309.813' W07232.724' 2,461 m 5 km (by foot)
Finish Hotel Wiracocha, Aguas Calientes S1309.241' W07231.423' 2,123 m 10 km (by bus)

Leg 1 Total:

4,665 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

5,436 km

 

Weather: Begins cloudy with a slight drizzle, but clears up.  The partly cloudy, sunny and hot.  Cool in the evening.

 

 

We are up before 4 AM and pack up all our stuff and have a quick breakfast.  Just before 5 AM we head off to the check point and then begin the short hike to the Sun Gate that over looks Mach Picchu.  This turns out to be a mad rush.  Every one seems to want to race to the Sun Gate.  In the end, we all make it and we are a bit disappointed - the clouds are covering Machu Picchu.

 

Peru01_IncaTrail4_01_Machu_Fog_4040_Web.jpg (91293 bytes)

After a short rest, we slowly walk down to the Guard House just above the ruins.  We get there around 6:20 AM and at that point the clouds and fog start to break up and we are able to see the ruins emerge out of the mist.  It is actually a magical way to see the ruins for the first time - it is like they are coming out of a time capsule.  We spend about an hour admiring the ruins from this vantage point, with the clouds clearing more and more by the minute.  We also take a group picture.

 

Peru01_IncaTrail4_10_Machu_Temple_4053_Web.jpg (130081 bytes)

After a short break at the coffee shop where we can drop off our bags, we enter Machu Picchu itself for a tour of the ruins.  We spend over two hours wandering around through the various sections.  It is an incredible experience.  But it is hard to take it all in.  At the end of the tour we say good bye and thank you to the guide.  At this point he pulls out a bottle of champagne and after telling us no pictures, sprays it all over us.  We share the remaining amount amongst ourselves.  A wonderful way to finish the Inca Trail.

 

Peru01_IncaTrail4_09_Machu_4052_Web.jpg (83737 bytes)

At this point we break up and each person decides how they want to tour the ruins on their own.  The tourists that took the train in (i.e., did not walk the Inca Trail) are starting to arrive and the ruins are starting to fill up wit people.  The magic is gone from this morning, but it is still an amazing place to wander around.

 

Peru01_IncaTrail4_18_Machu_4062_Web.jpg (116983 bytes)

We head back up to the guard house to see the ruins in full day light without the clouds.  We sit for a while on one of the terraces and just try to absorb some of what Machu Picchu has to offer.  We then slowly wander back through the ruins to the main gate to head down to the nearby town.

 

We take a bus into town rather than walk down - our goal was Machu Picchu and we reached it.  As we started down the steep switchback road going down the cliff, there was a small boy in traditional dress who greeted us.  He than ran straight down the mountain, meeting us at many of the curves, and beat us to the bottom.  He deserved a small tip for that feat.

 

Once in town we had a quick lunch and then headed up to the hotel.  After settling in we headed up to the nearby hot springs to rest our weary bones and muscles.  It was ok, buy the baths were a bit crowded, run down and dirty.  There were lots of locals, including many children, there that were enjoying the baths.  The attendant had a hard time keeping the kids under control.  The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to find a way other than walking to get back up to the ruins that evening to see them in the full moon.  To make a long story short, we were unsuccessful.  The best we could do was a mini-bus for US$324 both ways - we passed on that.

 

The town did not have much to offer and they tried to rip you off as best they could, so after a quick dinner we returned to the hotel for a good nights sleep.

 

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