Machu Picchu

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WOW!!! Machu Picchu is something that I will remember forever. Arriving at the Sun Gate and looking down on the city gave me the most amazing feeling. After hiking the inca trail for the last three days, it felt as though we has accomplished something incredible and the reward was the breath-taking view of one of the world’s seven wonders as the sun was rising.

I’ve seen a million pictures on Machu Picchu but nothing compares to seeing it first hand. From the Sun Gate we walked down and entered the city from above. We were then taken on a tour and was told about the history of the city, how it was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and about the different buildings within the city.

After the tour we were given the opportunity to spend time wandering around. A group of us decided to find a good vantage point where we could take in the sights. I could’ve sat and looked at that place for weeks!

What an amazing place! I was extremely sad to leave because I felt that Machu Picchu was a truly remarkable place but I know that it will be one of those places that I will never forget!

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The Inca Trail – Day 3

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We began the day´s trek by heading up 350 metres and then down the other side for 400 metres. We came across two inca ruins and then spent the middle of the day walking through the cloud forest which was just spectacular – we were able to spread out along the trail and walk by ourselves, giving you the feeling you were the only person in the world while marveling at the gorgeous path we were taking and the amazing views you see through the trees.

After lunch we hit the Gringo Killer Steps (gringo means white person or tourist) – 6 kms of steps down for 1000 metres for 2 hours.

We past two inca ruins and along the way we could see Machu Picchu mountain which had the inca flag atop. Machu Picchu city is on the other side of the mountain so it couldn’t be seen but it was exciting to think that we were almost there!

Day 3 was the highlight of the trek – seeing such amazing views and being within a couple of hours walk of Machu Picchu really brought home how this was probably one of the greatest experiences I will have during my lifetime and something that I will never forget.

Although the trip has been hard in parts I can honestly say that I have loved every minute of it! The sights I have seen are indescribable because of their sheer magnitude and magnificence and the experience itself has been incredible – the realisation of a dream I have had for many years.

Tomorrow I will take the short journey to Machu Picchu – arising at 3:45am and arriving at the Sun Gate that overlooks the ancient Inca city in time for sunrise.

I can’t wait!

The Inca Trail – Day 2

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We had an early start for breakfast and then we began what was meant to be the hardest day of trekking. And it was tough! We walked 12 kms, up 1,200 metres in altitude for 7 hours.

Nat having a rest part of the way up.

The last section before the top of Dead Woman´s Pass

The top peak is called Dead Woman’s Pass and it was bloody tough getting up there but when I reached the top it was absolutely exhilarating. Everyone who had already arrived clapped and cheered as I took the last few steps and although I was exhausted you couldn’t get the smile off my face.

And then it was down the other side! Another 1.5 hours of downhill steps before we reached camp.

The Inca Trail – Day 1

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We said goodbye to the guys doing the Lares trek then left Ollantaytambo and arrived at the starting point of the Inca Trail. We’d had to pack a duffel bag that weighed less than six kilos which the porters would carry and we also had day packs which were mainly full of water, snacks, sunscreen and lots of toilet paper.

We headed through the first check point where we had our passports stamped and we were on our way!

The first day we walked 10 kms in 5 hours. It wasn’t a difficult trek, there were some uphill and some downhill sections.

It was quite amazing how quickly the landscapes changed – from rocky mountains and cactus plants when we started to rainforest areas with ferns and small streams running down into a raging river below.

When we arrived at camp we watched the locals playing a game of futbol (soccer), had a delicious dinner and headed off to bed with several layers of clothing on as it was expected to be very cold during the night.

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