the inca trail


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South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu
September 13th 2011
Published: September 13th 2011
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It was a 5am start on the 8th, i was told to wait in the reception which i did- i clocked a guy outside wondering about but thought surely he would knock if he was waiting for me... after aboiut half an hour he did come to the door and off we went, we had the same situation picking up the others because they had also been told not to leave the reception under any circumstances yet the driver just sat outside!

Anyway we all eventually got on to the bus and stopped in a small town for supplies (mainly coca leaves) after 20 mins we got back on the bus shocked to find it full of peruvians all sat on our stuff, we continued to the start point. As soon as we got off the bus locals surrounded us trying to sell us things, to be fair i really needed some ties as my sleeping back and liner was attached to my bag with string but she was really in my face so i refused! Our group was 6 a couple in their 50´s from america, a welsh couple and another girl called michelle. Everyone apart from me and michelle had hired porters i.e people to carry their bags etc. So me and michelle had all our kit on and after 10 mins it felt like a ton. The first day was fairly easy, we learnt the´term ´peruvian flat´ which basically meant uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill. Peruvian flat sucks! The highlight of day one and perhaps the whole trip was stopping for a break and seeing 2 really cute dogs, welsh Mark put his bag on the floor and one of the dogs promptly pissed on it... everybody pissed theirselves lauging Mark was not so amused saying something like ýou do that again i´ll fucking kick you´´ His girlfriend Lou came to the rescue with her hand sanitizer which would come in usefull on day 2 (more about that later).
During one of our final breaks in walking one of our guides got ´the book out´ the book was what he would teach us about the incas with... we all came to love ´the book´and it basically meant an extended break from walking and thorughout the trek we all learned to ask more and more questions just to delay the walking a few moments longer.
Our first camp was strange to say the least we shared it with millions of chickens, a pig and a few other assorted animals, the toilet was up a hill, i went to investigate but could not have used it it my life depended on it. The smell hit you about 25m away and just got worse and worse as you approached it, itwas just awfull, it was a squat toilet which had no flush just a bucket of water at the side and a basket overflowing with shitty toilet paper at the side, i had to go and pee in the bushes and just pray to god i didnt need a poo!
The official wake up time was about 6am but we were all up about 5am because thats what time the cockrill woke up. Breakfast was cool we had bread, jam, omlettes and coca tea. Then we set off walking day 2 is notourious for being the hardest day as you trek up ´dead womans pass´ which is basically severall hours hard uphill then a couple of hours down, it was hard going and amazingly i found i was not the most unfittest person in peru i was passing loads of people it was ace! the worst bit was ste final stretch before the top, there is hardly and oxygen because you are so high, your muscles are tired and the last last bit are near vertical steps. Hard work! I was relieved because the rest was downhill, but dont ever be fooled like i wasinto thinking downhill is easier because its not!!! The downhill consists of uneven steps and you just go down and down and down it kills your knees and my ankle was hurting too because i had a nasty reaction to a bite the day before and my ankle wasalready twice the size it should have been. We made it t the camp anyway and I think we all had a little snooze before ´happy hour´- happy hour was a strange custom on the trek, basically we all went in to the eating tent an hour before dinner to gourge ourselves on fresh popcorn hot chocolate and other nice things. We then had dinner I found chicken in my soup- the guide swore blind it was cauliflower! Everything from that point onwards tastedlike chicken i was not happy. For the main course we had pasta, the meateaters had chicken in theirs everyone thought they had just sat and picked the chicken out of mine and i suspect they were right. The desert was pretty shitty too hot jelly... yuk!
Overall the food was pretty good to be fair and would have been amazing if i wasnt a vegetarian, and there was loads of it too!
The toilet situation was pretty grim at this campsite too and again i had to wee in the bushes, theother highlightof the trip was about to happen though. Paul the american guy went to the toilet and hung his headlamp above it so he could see... unfortunately it fell off and landed in the toilet. He had to fish it out, which is just gross and wash it off in the stream! Lou then came and doused it with her hand sanitizer... class. As it was his only torch he had to continue usingit but put a bandanna under it Pauls new name for the remainder of the trip was ´shit head´´
Day 3 was supposedly easier than day 2 but it was still pretty difficult, we saw so much during the walks we went from mountains, jungle, rainforest and we passed inca ruins on the way so it was really nice and of course the book came out on occassion. We reached the last camp I cant comment on how thetoilets were because i just peed in the bushes but apparently they were the worst yet, we were right on the mountain side and i mean RIGHT on it we had litterally a foot out side our tents then a sheer drop! After we had arrived just before sunset we went to an inca site near the camp andit really was the best yet, it was getting dark though so unfortunately we didnt have much time there. It was a full moon which was pretty cool and from our camp we could see mount machu picchu the coulds settlesin to the valley at night too which was pretty cool. We all had an early night apart from one member of our group who shall remain nameless she went on a private night tour of the inca ruins if you know what i mean!
We were up at 3.30 am and quickly had breakfast and headed to the checkpoint, we were the second group in line the checkpoint didnt open till 5.30 am so we all waited freezing, when itdid open though it was a mad mad rush, we caught up the the group in front of us and they were going abit slow so we kept asking our guide if we could pass and he said no but then one of their group fell so we all shot past them! We power walked for ages then we reached ´the gringo killers´which were vertical steps leading to the sungate i pushed on hoping it would be the most magnificent sight when i reached the top... my hopes and dreams were ruined when i reached the top and looked up insteadof an amazing view of machu picchu a got a view of a peruvian having a wee on the sun gate... nice!
After recovering from that though the first glimse of the place was pretty amazing, after catching our breath and recoveringa little bit we started walking down to it, unfortunately it was a bit cloudy so we couldnt see the sun rise properly on it. On the way in to the city is a massive alter where travellers are supposed to leave an offering... i left some coca leaves. There were some people coming theother way which were obviously the people who had cheated and got the bus there, we were notprepared for how much we would despise these people. We wanted to kill them all! I actually heard someone complaing because they had to be up at 4am to catch the bus.... wtf!!! The wierd thing was all the people that had cheated had walking boots and walking poles!!!! whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
We had a quick look around then had to go down to the other entrance because we had to leave our bags in storage, waitingin the que one of the cheaters commented on the string holding my bag together i was none to happy Íts fine 30 miles iv walked like this and not had a problem... its fine´
I was a bit ratty! We then started our tour of the city and after we climbed about 100 steps the heavens opened... but of course my poncho was in the bag in the bloody storage so i had to trek back to get it! Lou had accidently brought a kids size poncho, Mark had left his in his bag so just had a plastic bag over his head! Even though it was raining it was still amazing, beingin the clouds was quite eerie. Unfortunatley there were people everywhere which sort of made it a little less magical there is a rule of 200 tourists a day on the inca trail but i think entry to the site is unlimited. Again the pictures i have of the place just dont do it justice, its pretty special. Áfter a few hours of walking round I was exhausted so headed downby bus in the the nearest town, we were all meetingin ´the hot springs´ bar. I´m not a big drinker but all i wanted was a beer... ´beer por favor´i said ´small´he said érr no large´ I´d got about half way down before Lou and mark arrived and it had already gone to my head a bit! From this point things started to go a bit wrong though as in my tour guide didnt have my return train ticket!!! I was perhaps not as peeved as i should have been because the beer kept flowing... in the end i was given someone elses train ticket and told to use that! I was on a paypohone screaming at the tour operator and getting laughed at by locals! I wasnt getting anywhere with them at all, so just decided to have a good time and see what happens.
My train was 15 mins aftre lou and marks so we decided to see if we could get me on to theirs. We got past the first 2 checkpoints no problems then just as we were about to board the lady clicked on! Damn it! So i sat aside whilst they all boarded, I then heard my name being shouted and it was mark hanging out the window he had bribed someone with a beer to give him part of their ticket so i qued up with that only to be caught again! He started speaking to me in spanish then english so i come up with the ingenious plan of calling upon my gcse french... surely he doesnt speak french. ´je ne comprend pas´´ i say then he starts wittering in french... he asks my name i look dow at the ticket... ´Peter´ha ha he only got a blokes ticket! so i got escorted back and had to get the later train. Bless them they had waited at the trainstation for me and missed they bus back to cuzco so we could all share a taxi there was the taxi driver, our guide frank, his freind donna, me, mark and lou all squeezed in one taxi with shed loads of alcohol being typically british, shouting chanting etc! The taxi ride was 1.5 hours and cost a tenner for all of us! We were going to go out but we were all a bit smelly and tired so headed back. I had a really good sleep and woke up the next morning i thought hungover, so i took a few painkillers and drank some water. I had a shower and washed my hair then I became violently ill, sickness, the other end it was relentless i had the worst headache ever... i thought i was going to die! I´d only booked the room for 1 night and couldnt even go to tell the hostel owner i was still there... honestly it was awfull i was shivering, it got to the point i was drinking water and it was comingout the other end still cold my body not even had chance to warm it up! Gross i know! That day was just hell, iv woken up this morning feeling better but still really shit! I need to catch abus to puno but its 7 hours and im not sure i can make it but im already a day behind schedule so im going to have to!



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