Adventures through South America...

September 11, 2009

Machu Picchu

Well, finally here are my pics from Machu Picchu.

I ended up doing the Inka Jungle Trek (one of many alternative treks to the original Inka Trail) with Niamh and Mig, who I met in Pisco. The trek was 4 days and 3 nights and involved biking downhill, trekking, trekking and more trekking and climbing a bunch of mountains.

The first day we started out by driving to the site where we´d begin our bike part. It was not hard, but it was painful. We biked over a rocky road for 3 hours and by the end, my arms and legs were vibrating on their own. Then, we trekked some.
We spent the first night in a little village called Santa Maria. The next day, we took a truck into the jungle and began trekking from there for 3 hours.
We stopped for a 2 hour lunch break, which involved having 2 naps in a hammock. Then we took off on some more trekking until we got to the thermal baths near Santa Theresa. The trek that day was really hard and involved some serious climbing up mountains. The thermal baths were pretty amazing! There were three different pools, one hot, one warm and one cold. Also, there were some hot showers outdoors that I took advantage of. That night we stayed in Santa Theresa. The next day our group opted to take the bus to the Hidroelectric station (where the train tracks began) and hike from there (3 hours) to Aguas Caliente. After we got to Aguas Caliente, we decided to climb up another mountain that has a great view of Machu Picchu. It was incredibly strenuous, but entirely worth it!!

The next morning we got up at 3 am in order to hike up to Machu Picchu. We made it in about 1.5 hours and got there before it opened. We had a guided tour for the first 2 hours, then were on our own to climb WaynaPicchu (another mountain beside Machu Picchu)! Also, definitely worth it!

I climbed the mountain in the middle of this picture the day before I went to Machu Picchu!

After we climbed down from Machu Picchu, we paid our hostel lady for a shower and got on the train to come back to Cusco! So exhausting!


Well, I´ve managed to stay in Cusco for longer than I thought! I ended up taking some Spanish lessons, meeting up with some friends from Pisco, going on a trek to Machu Picchu (separate blog) and having way too much fun!

Let´s see...
I went out to a bar one night with some friends from Pisco, and tried Shisha (a large bong filled with flavoured tobacco) for the first time. It was a lot of fun.

Actually, we have gone to the bars a lot. All of the night clubs around here have people in the streets handing out free drink tickets to get you to go into their clubs. AND every bar has a different happy hour, where you can get two drinks for the price of one!

Cusco is a really pretty town! It has a really nice main square with three cathedrals and there is so much to do here. I have found some awesome (and cheap) restaurants too! One of them serves a vegetarian meal for only 5 soles. ($1.25) and you get tea, soup as a starter and a full entree with rice and some vegetarian meal. I love eating here.
In our cooking class this week, we made papas rellenas (stuffed potatoes). Basically you mash potatoes, roll them into balls, flatten them, then stuff them with veggies, and reform them into potatoes. The best part? You then deep fry them and eat them with spicy aji (a hot pepper sauce). I´m going to miss the food!

The other day, we went to visit Qorikancha, an Inca site in the city. What remains of the Inca walls now surrounds a colonial church. It was the head of the Inca Empire, and was mostly covered in gold!

Oh ya, and this is the one purchase I´m probably going to regret not making!