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Published: December 31st 2007
We arrived in Cusco on Christmas Eve. The main square was chockers full of stalls selling junk people wouldn´t buy, having said that I did buy myself a scarf. The air was filled with burning frankensence and shit. Christmas Eve dinner was at Paddy´s Irish pub and was one of the best meals I´ve had so far -- crunchy green vegetables at last! I spoke to my family for the first time in five months and it was great. Unlike last time, I was ok after the phone call and I´m glad I rang them.
Christmas Day was spent exchanging Secret Santa presents -- I received a beautiful appliqued scarf -- and Christmas lunch. The meal was atrocious and the dessert was made worst knowing that my family was enjoying my favourite homemade chocolate mousse back home.
We spent Boxing Day in the Sacred Valley of the Moon looking at ruins.
We started the Inca Trail on December 27 at the 82km starting point. The first day was enjoyable and my roommate and I finally popped our camping cherry and slept in a tent. We trekked 9km for 4.5 hours and our campsite was at 3000m.
Day 2 was my birthday. Hiking up Dead Woman´s Pass on your birthday is not recommended -- it nearly killed me! The steep stone stairs on the way down the other side of the mountain weren´t much better. We trekked 13km for 6 hours and our highest summit was 4,200m. Our campsite was at 3,600m. My roommate and another friend gave me a beautiful butterfly pendant I had my eye on and one of them managed to carry half a bottle of vodka and three cans of Red Bull in her day pack. Our porters can only carry 5kg per person which means we must carry the rest in our day packs so God only knows how much the vodka and Red Bull weighed. We played music and drank in our dining tent and the cook made me a birthday cake! I took out mum and dad´s photo so they could enjoy the party with us. My friends had their photos taken with mum and dad and so did the porters. It rained that night and our tent leaked so our sleeping bags got wet. Camping sucks.
On Day 3 we trekked 10km for 7 hours and our campsite was at 3,670m.
Day 4 was a bastard. Due to a budget tour group taking our campsite closer to Machu Picchu, we had to leave at 4.00am in the dark and head down over 200 steep wet stairs. This added an extra 2.5 hours to our 3 hour trek to Machu Picchu and we ended up walking 10km. Seeing what was supposed to be our campsite only 6km from Machu Picchu, by which time my legs had started to give in, was demoralising. When we finally got to Machu Picchu I was in agony. I´ve never felt such muscle pain in my life. After taking photos of Machu Picchu, I took a bus to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes and spent an hour in the thermal hot springs.
We arrived back in Cusco last night and I went straight to bed. This morning I felt like I had been hit by a truck and I´m walking like a gimp. If I go out tonight for NYE the only dance I´ll be doing will be The Robot.
Walking the Inca Trail was by far the most challenging physical experience of my life. Many times I wanted to cry and go home but I kept it together. I kept reminding myself if I can handle four weeks in basic conditions in Puerto Lempira, then I can handle the Trail. Puerto Lempira tested me mentally and the Inca Trail tested me physically. Having said that, next time I´ll take the train.
Highs: experiencing the Inca Trail and testing myself. Camping for the first time. Views from my tent of being above the clouds and seeing glaciers on mountains.
Lows: leaking tents. The toilets built for tourists -- bush toilets are much better!!
Tot: 1.957s; Tpl: 0.061s; cc: 13; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0148s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb