Well...a little update about our trip. We were suppose to head out on our 4 day hike Monday morning, but Sunday night about 2am, I came down with a serious stomach bug. It was not altitude sickness, it was a stomach bug that took its course in a matter of only a couple hours to empty out my entire insides. Needless to say there was no way I could hike, so we ended up not being able to go.
We were extremely disappointed since this is what we planned our entire trip around but oh well, what can you do. I spend all of Monday in bed while Eric ran around the town getting everything situated to get to Machu Picchu.
Tuesday we just walked around the city a little and took a short tour on a trolley. I still wasn't feeling great. Wednesday we went out for an American breakfast and had pancakes with bananas and carmel sauce before taking our taxi out to Ollyamtambo where we would catch our train to Machu Picchu. We took a more expensive train that had windows on the ceiling to we could see as much as possible and it was an awesome train ride. Only 6 people were on the train and so we were able to move around to both sides taking pictures.
We got to Aquas Calientes (20 min bus ride to Machu Picchu) and walked around the town. It is really small, bascially geared just for tourists, so just shops and restaurants. There are some hot springs there, but they didn't look very appealing-lots of dirty people trying to get clean in what they turned into little pools. We ate an awesome dinner at a little french/peruvian restaurant before heading to bed.
We woke up at 4:30am to a wake up call we didn't order but thought that maybe the treking place had made it. We ate a little breakfast and took the first bus up to Machu Picchu at 5:30. We were suppose to meet our treking group at the entrence (they had our tickets) but they didn't arrive until almost 8:00am. So we just sat around for 2 hours. But once we headed in, our whole trip turned around. Machu Picchu really was amazing. Much larger than I imagined. It was pretty amazing. We took a two hour tour of the ruins and then went over to hike up Wanyu Picchu, the mountain that is commonly seen in the backdrop of the ruins.
They only allow 400 people to hike up it, we of course didn't know how it all worked. Turns out they let 200 people in at 8:00 and 200 more in at 10:00. We got over there around 10:30 and there was a little line, turns out that we were 390 and 391 into the mountain. It was about an hour or so up the mountain that included some steep parts and really narrow stairs, but it was way worth it. The ruins were neat up there as well, hiked in part of a cave and it is just amazing how they built these ruins on the side of a mountain.
We came back and ate a little lunch before going back out on part of the Inca trail hike up to whats called the sun gate, where if we had done the hike we would have seen the ruins for the first time. It wasn't up like the other mountain, but it was a nice hike. Then came back and walked around the ruins some more before heading back down the mountain at 5pm.
The next day, I had wanted to climb another mountain that is across from the ruins, so we headed out around 9am. This hike was about an hour up, maybe 1000 feet of climbing, and parts of the hike are just ladders made of logs and nailed into the rocks. There were 250 ladder steps on the hike, and going up wasn't that bad, but come down was scary for me, just going down and seeing all the way down the mountain. It was a nice hike, hardly anyone on the train, and we spend about 45 min at the top by ourselves just enjoying the scenery. I enjoyed this part the most, just more secluded and peaceful than the chaos at Machu Picchu.
We took a train and bus back to Cusco and go back around 10pm Friday night. We had wanted to go white water rafting, but the river was low and so it wasn't recommended. Instead, Saturday we got horses and toured some ruins just outside the city with a small group of nice people and a great guide. And Sunday we took a day long tour of what is known as the Sacred Valley. We got back around 7pm and had reservations at the "best restaurant" in Cusco (which only costs like $15-20 a plate) and packed up.
It was a fun trip besides getting sick and it is disappointing not to have hiked the trail. We talked about whether we would want to go back and do the hike, but part of it was going to be seeing Machu Picchu for the first time from the trail and so we kind of ruined the ending. So we ultimately said we need to go somewhere else. We met some great people and had a great time, especially the last 4-5 days where packed and amazing. No pictures today, Eric took the camera to work, but I will post some of them tomorrow.
Here is the few of the places we are thinking about going next year: Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, Galapagos Islands