|Sunrise at Machu Picchu, Peru|
Day one started with a 3 hour drive from Cusco to the village of Lares with our crew, including porters Jean and Ilario, cook Mario, guide Raul and our 3 Aussie trekking mates Mark, Kylie and Nicole (it was, as most are in Peru, a cozy ride). Before we started hiking they lulled us into a false sense of security with a two-hour dip in the natural hot springs.
|lovely Lares hot springs|
|shirts vs. sheeps|
|Alpaca's gourmet mess hall|
|Sunshine & llamas. What more do you need?|
|Sean handing out bread to the kids in Wakawasi|
|Our day 1 campsite with village home behind|
|Me, wondering if I'm going to make it|
|My new pals|
|4,600 metres and a lot of cursing later|
Luckily by the morning the bone-chilling wind had died off, and we crawled out of our ice-encrusted tents to another gorgeous sunny day, and the easiest day of hiking yet: all downhill, back to the Sacred Valley and civilization.
|starting our descent|
|Trekking down a path/stream, being as graceful as ever.|
|Lunch in the Peruvian countryside|
|Gringos and porters|
|after 3 days, possibly the tastiest beer of all time|
Now, finally, we can talk about that sunrise.
Getting up at 4:30am to catch one of the first buses up the hill was definitely worth it - Machu Picchu is busier than Disneyland and we were able to snap a few shots of the empty ruins before the hoardes descended.
See that big peak behind the ruins? That's Waynapicchu. Sean and I decided to climb it...and it's just as steep as it looks. But climbing up hip-height stairs, clinging to the side of a mountain, for 45 minutes is worth it when you get a view like this:
It's an extra $15 USD to climb Waynapiccha, and worth every penny. You have to buy a pass in advance though, as they sell out weeks early.
After our hike/flirtation with death, our most awesome guide Raul gave us a personal tour of the ruins. By this time, though, it was midday and busier than Costco on a Saturday, so we didn't spend as much time as we might have. Those first few quiet moments in the morning really were the highlight.
|With the best guide of all time, Raul|