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Published: January 19th 2007
Another night in another airport, literally...Arriving in Lima on the 4th, we camped out in the 24 hour food court area to wait for our 6.20am flight to Cusco on the 5th. As previous reports on the sleepinginairports.org site indicated, it was bright and uneventful. Richy enjoyed a 4am beer and I tucked in to a plate of pretty old looking fried rice. By the time we were let into the departure lounge at about 5am, it was straight to the benchs for some deep zzzz's followed by a zombie-like boarding and another 2 hours on the flight.
The one thing that the historic and picturesque city of Cusco does not need are the touts. Young ones, old ones, big and small, they come in all shapes and colours selling anything from a picture with some confused baby lamb or llama to postcards and tours. The most common thing you hear a visitor say and one that you will constantly use is 'No, gracias'. One of the pubs by the square even sells a t-shirt with that printed on the front 😊 All this however did not cross into the area of discomfort though and we still throughly enjoyed the
San befriended this lady while walking along the street. She ended up costing us 5kg of sugar and half a round of cheese!
town and the sites. Samay Wasi
was home for the next 3 days as we tried to rest up before the InCacacacaaaaa Trail. Day 2 Richy proceeded to get a 'breathtaking' cold and cough (yes the one sweeping the UK every winter) which developed into a nice chest infection just before the trek was due to start. Even the hearty stew made from fresh goodies from the market didn't help to clear it and he deliriously made the decision to go ahead with the trek. So the curse
From the first day, we were not short of being impressed with the Peru Treks
team. We stopped for lunch at a nice site inhabited by a few houses of farmers and the amzing crew whipped up a 3 course meal consisting of a veg soup, trout (trucha) and dessert! Stuck at the end of the table, I could only look on as Richy, head bowed, tucked into his meal half-heartedly, with barely an ounce of Richysam in him. Although evening proved to see his spirits pick up a little, after the flaming banana dessert that the cook made for us. Unfortunately, it was to revert to feeling really ill
again the next morning. The next day I continued on with the trek while Richy made the long walk back to km82 (starting point) only to stay in Olyantaytambo and catch the train to Aquas Calientes 2 days later to meet the others and his beloved (:op) on MachuPichuu.
With a heavy heart, I walked onwards trying to catch up with the athletic group of ours that had already started off. The majority of the group was really fast, one especially stood out. Holly is probably the fittest and fastest person I have ever met. It is admirable how she had juggled her studies and time spent on training to make the US olympic diving team. I progressed to the camp toilet pretty quickly... oops wrong path! Thank goodness for the checkpoint to verify the trekking permits otherwise, San is no catching up...
I swear that I had taken only the essentials along the route but as the second day progressed, the dastardly, technically superior, built-for-women backpack just got heavier and heavier, as the air got thinner and thinner. The climb upwards was on and on and on and on, and where are those altitude combating everready batteries
The crew after 4 days of trekking...
You can smeel them from here can't you!
when you need them? From Wallayabamba, where we had stayed the night, to the Warmiwanusca pass, is a breathtaking (*cough* and *sputter*) rise of 1200m in a space of 9km. There was one point the peak was nearly reached but it turned out to be only a very deceptive blind corner. Around that, the big peak peered down at my itsy bitsy red face. The mountain range conspiracy! With emotions running high through the struggling for breath and frustration caused from 'so near yet so far', the feeling of triumph when the peak was finally reached was like when Wallace and Gromit landed on the moon for cheese. Wah, even as I sit here in comfort of my brothers flat writing this, I can remember how I felt freakin invincible... better than Superman, I was Super San!!
The clouds opened up on the descent to the campsite and it never really ceased the whole of the third day. Although the valley was shrouded in mist at the ruins of Sayacmarca, it lended its own mystic feel to the place. Just as the Incas had taken the route on their pilgrimage thousands of years ago, I was taking my own.
Guides Hubert and Victor
Thanks for keeping us alive guys!
To celebrate the journey so far, it was off to and ice cold shower, after 3 days of walking. The Wiñay Wayna ruins is a side trip from the last night's campsite well worth the journey no matter how tired, wet, cold, one is. Its only about a 10 minute walk. The ruins consists of well preserved terraces, water baths etc away from the crowds. It was a tasty sampler of what was yet to come!!
That last evening at the mess tent, being with the most 'kiasu' group, there was a whole strategising session on what to do to make sure we were the first ones to get to the park ranger gates to beat the trekking crowd. This involved getting up at 4am and out of camp by 4.30am. I brushed my teeth at the booth as we waited for the stars to dissappear and the park ranger to arrive at about 5.30am. The pre-work did work as we were the first at the gates! I finally reached the Sun gate just before 7am, huffing and puffing as usual with my 15kgs back-pack (guys, I had to sneak this in... I do feel proud of it!
Stupid to have carried all that weight but I never buckled!). Others in the group had already arrived including, Frodo, my nickname for Neil, a young American bloke who just completed an exchange program with an Argentinian Uni. He had bet the night before that he could beat Holly to the gates if he wanted to.... yes, like the way I can out-race Kelly Holmes if I really really tried... hmmm! Anyway, the pigs did not fly in this case.
The rain turned out to be a blessing in diguise. At the sun gate, overlooking the magestic Macchu Picchu, we were rewarded with the sun coming up from the east. Descending into Macchu Picchu and waiting around with the llamas, I finally caught a glimpse of Richy's straw hat bobbing up towards us... so I was rewarded a second time with a hug from my poor hubby who not only lost quite a bit of weight from not eating, he had brought me a Gatorade and a ham sandwich. What a great way to start exploring Macchu Picchu!
A special thanks to Victor Aller our guide who not only did a fantastic job to manage the group
alone as Huber, the assistant guide had taken Richy down, he was informative, flexible and accomodating, a perfect host in every sense. The 2 had a good partnership and we felt re-assured that they did not pressure Richy to continue just to keep the group together. Dos personna muy especial. Muchos Gracias y mucho gusto.
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