Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014 - Peru Day 7 (Inca Trail Day 4)

Today we will finish our trek and it will be sad to see the end of our group. We wake up at 3:30am to try to get a spot in the queue which has a shelter in case of rain.

Machu Picchu in all it's glory from the Sun Gate
We woke up and had some breakfast and left. Breakfast was bread with crepe covered in caramel sauce. Unfortunately we were one group away from being at the shelter. And we had to wait until 5:30am before the gates open (the walk is just 15 minutes or so).

The whole group at Machu Picchu
The Sun Gate is about an hour hike from the shelter. The view with you get there is stunning. I was able to get there before the sun hits Macchu Picchu. It is amazing.

Us walking to Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate
After some photos and admiring Machu Picchu we head down to go for our tour. With the package, you get a roughly 1.5 hour tour of Machu Picchu going through the history behind how it was found, what the purpose is, amongst other things. Learning about the history here is actually pretty interesting.

Wayna Picchu!
Next up Wayna Picchu! Only our group (Sharon, Allison and myself) signed up for the climb. I thought the hike up would be easier but I was wrong. It was still pretty tough and took us roughly 1 hour to go up to the top, even though the guide said 45 minutes. The view is stunning and gives you a view of the entire site. Since there is a 200 person limit, there are significantly less people here.

Atop Wayna Picchu pointing at the Sun Gate
After doing Wayna Picchu, I'm not sure how I feel about trying to fit it into our tour schedule. By the time we went to the top, we spent about 5 minutes there taking pictures and then we had to leave because we didn't have enough time to enjoy it. We had to get down (assuming a similar amount of time), get to the exit, take the bus down to Aguas Caliente and catch the train ride back (the train leaves at 2:55pm for us).

Us atop Wayna Picchu
By the time we finished Wayna Picchu and got back to the entrance, it was already almost 1:15pm. We had to take the bus down to Aguas Caliente which took about 20 minutes (lots of zig-zagging downhill), and we met up with everyone else for lunch at Tupana Wasi.  Tourist trap as well but we were hungry and wouldn't be eating until we got back to Cusco which would be 7pm. After lunch, it was funny because there was a photographer at the start of the journey and she took pictures of us when we started and tried to sell us souvenir photos at the restaurant (clearly together with the tour guide). We didn't buy any, but they weren't too expensive at 15 soles (it was lamented). From here, we take the train to Ollantaytambo and took the bus back to Cusco, got back at around 7pm.

Us at the Sun Gate
Once in Cusco, we went to Pantiacolla to drop off our bag since we didn't want to take everything to the jungle. On their recommendation, we ended up at Kushka cafe for dinner. The food there was great and was not very expensive at roughly 30 soles an entree.

Pork chop

Lomos Saltado with chicken
Tomorrow we head out to the amazon jungle for a week.