Mills and Ginge Hit the Inca Trail - Biggy Style
After a horrendous bus journey from La Paz to Cusco on public transport (we were greatly missing the luxury of trevor the truck!) we arrived quirte late into cusco and were met by the waykitrek guides who were taking us on the inca trail. they explained all that we were going to do for the following four days and then suggested that we get a good sleep before the early start the next morning at 5am!
We started our journey to the start of the Inca trail early on sunday morning and to our surprise realised that we were the only two people in the group (compared to about 15 in other groups) and consequently realised that there was a guide, two cooks and two porters just for us!!! service or what?! After a lovely breakfast we checked into the inca trail (entrance is very closely regulated and limited) and started our first day's walk ,which was relatively gentle and meant to help you acclimatise to the altitude. Fermin, our guide, was great and helped to explain about the Incan history along the walk as well as pointing out interesting facts about the local flora and fauna. He also let us try incan beer made from corn but was absolutly foul as it was very sour and bitter! We arrived to the lunch campsite to find a cute little dining tent set up waiting for us with a table set for two at which we ate an amazing two course dinner. The porters are incredible as they carry about 17kg on their backs including gas canisters and stoves but they still manage to run all the way and set up the lunch campsite before running onto the main campsite and setting up there too- they have to be incredibly fit and train from a very early age! We were absolutely amazed at the standard of food on the trail with such limited resources and it turned out to be some of the best food we had in south america! Plus, on arrival at the campsite they had 'teatime' waiting for us including tea, hot chocolate, popcorn, mini sandwiches! As we were so knackered we had a nap until dinner time (another amazing meal!) which was made more interesting by the pouring rain, thunder and lightening!!
The next day proved to be incredibly challenging! we hadn't quite realised how hard the inca trail would be when we booked! We saw a lot of people who had very obviously trained for the walk and our fitness levels were pretty shocking in comparison. We had to walk from 2500m to 4200m on the second day- 6 hours of non stop climbing! Plus, as soon as we reached the summit our celebration was dampened by the rain which started almost immediately- just our luck!!
The third day was great fun with quite a lot of up and downs but also including 3 Incan ruins to visit which broke the walking up and made it a lot more interesting. the landscape had changed quite dramatically from dry grassy hills on the second day to a tropical climate on the third walking through rainforest paths lined with beautiful orchids and bamboo galore! The third night was a very special one as it was the only night that we could.... have a shower! which turned out to be freezing cold anyway and a strange peruvian lady yanked the shower curtain back on me and was shouting all strange spanish instructions while I was stood their attempting to keep my dignity?!
At last.... the final day! We were woken up at 4am to go to the check point and be approved for the final leg of the journey up to the sungate!! However, once more the views were spoiled by cloud and rain- we renamed it the 'rain gate'! quite disappointing after the massive trek to miss out on the stunning views of one of the 7 wonders of the world! nonetheless, as if like a miracle, as soon as we got down to macchu piccu the sky cleared and brilliant sunshine appeared so we could happily wander around the ruins and take some amazing pictures while Fermin explained more about the Incan peoples. A hilarious part of the day was when fermin lost his confirmation for his entry as a guide to Macchu Picchu and literally ran away from the old guards as they chased him!!