A Travellerspoint blog

The Inca Trail-Day 3

An Abundance of the most important Archeological Inca Sights (Read in Following sequence Day 1,2,3,4)

After a very tiring day 2 we had an early start again at 5.30 with wake up tea provided by our tireless porters who were up again I don’t know exactly since when but had another great breakfast ready.
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We started our trek at 6.30ish with about an hour and a bit of climbing straight up. We continued up and over the mountain, with again a 40 minutes descent before coming upon to the first ¨archeological Inca Site¨ , this one on the edge looking out over the valley. Its called ***** . Our guide Carlos was telling us how it was the most important archeological Inca site. He said the same thing when saw the first look out point on DAY1. Infact it was at this point that Walter, Isa, Anthony and my self started to chuckle. Mainly because of the amount of times Carlos used the term ' Archeological Inca Site'. If we got a dollar from Carlos every time he used this phrase we would have all done the trek free. In all seriousness but we loved his enthusiasm and passion for his role. I also loved walking through the look out point and enjoying the view. After staying there for about 10-15 mins and taking in the view we started walking again a little steep it wasn´t as bad though. I was struggling on day 2 by now but not today. The incline wasn’t as bad. I was still sore from the day2 slip but it was all good. We were at about 3800ms above sea level. At this point we could notice a change vegetation, the flora and fauna. We could notice this, when Walter was taking even more pictures than the first two days(he he). I think after climbing another steep mountain we passed two other important archeological Inca sites Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca . By the end of the third site we were at 3600m above sea level. We could also enjoy the view of Urubumba ( U-R-U-B-U-M-B-A as Carlos EXCLAIMED !!!!) river and by 4.30pm we got to the camp site, Winaywayna.

We got to winaywayna and our campsite was a little away from the main camp area which was a god send as we were away from the noise. The place was pretty weird. I was pretty surprised as the restaurant sold beer, and different types of alcohol. I heard that there was night club in there as well, however this turned out to be more like a high school cafeteria. I cant quite understand why you would want to drink too much on the eve of reaching machu picchu though.

Before dinner Anthony and I ventured to the main camp area, Anthony took advantage of the first sight with hot showers in three days. We struggled back hand in hand with a flat batteried torch in the dark, awaiding spiders only to return to yet another great last supper.
After the meals It was time to give the porters their tip. Hopefully they were happy with what they got.I am sure they deserved much more for what they do. I wish I had the more cash on hand to tip them heavily. I feel for Daniel 18, it was his first trek carrying 25kg . I hope the others gave him an equal share.
After giving the tips and taking pictures with our porter friends, Carlos told us that we have an early start at 4.00 AM. So we returned to our respective tents just after 8.00pm. I fell asleep as I hit the bed.I could still hear the powerful gush of Urubamba river which was pretty far away but it felt like that we had camped right on the bank of the river.

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In a wrap it was a great day climbing up and down the steep mountains and looking at the many 'Archeological inca sites and Urubamba river and hearing its powerful rush. Really looking forward to tommorrow we will be in machupicchu tomorrow. Cant belive that the four days went so quickly.

Posted by Harshu 17:37 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Inca Trail-Day 2

The tail of two very differents paths up the mountain (Read in Following sequence Day 1,2,3,4)

Day2

After an early morning wake up call at 5.30am with coco tea given to us in bed we got ready by 6.00 for breakfast. I took a lil while to get up as usual and Anth had to wake me up again. We got ready for breakfast and man was the breakfast good or what. It was great. We started off with Porridge, then had pancakes and offcourse cocatea and coffee. The meals have been so good. Its amazing how the porters are able to get all this ready so early in the morning and it is delicious.

After a great breakfast I was ready to go back to bed. I was dreading the DAY2 of the trail as everyone had been saying that it is very difficult. Our guide Carlos told us to take it slow and steady on the trek today as it can be very tiring and we were walking a total of 11kms with over a 1200 meter ascent. Isabella and I were already scared. But we started on a note SLOW n STEADY. Again the view of monstorous massive mountains was just breathtaking but today we did not really ease into the climb. The Ascent began straight away from our camp site. Unlike yesterday the climbing bursts were longer, not just a couple of minutes at a time but atleast 10-15 minutes stints.

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Harsh´s Account of Dead womans Pass

Despite the steep climb we made it to the first resting point with many stops in between at about 09.30am, whilst it was challenging it was managable. We had our snack there. Rested for a 10mins. From here Anthony and I agreed go alone at our own pace to the highest point of the entire trek, dead womans pass which was at 4200 m above sea level. I could not match his speed so I was walking with Isabella and Walter. We took several stops as Isabella and I were getting tired. We had to climb the steep steps all the way so it was getting more difficult with every step. Practicing One legged squats with Anthony at the gym was helping at first but not all the way. The first two stops were still managable but by the time we got to dead womans pass, I was struggling and thank god Walter was there, he was very helpful and at one point he had to help Isabella and me. Poor guy didnt have time to be tired for himself. He didnt complain though. On our way to the 1st check point I met a lot of people who I was passing by and some were passing me by. There were a couple of them who had there whole backpacks and climbing the stairs. I dont know how they did that. I was carrying a a little day pack and I was nearly dying. We finally got to the first check point at 4200m above the sea level. I was nearly dead. I went looking for Anthony but he was no where to be found. So we figured that he went all the way as he wouldnt wana cool down. We took some photos and rested and I met up with some poeple who I met on the way who made there way at the top before me. They were all boys so I didnt feel that bad that they had passed us.
After getting to the ****** point, all we had to do is climb down to the othe rside of the mountain. So I thought it was going to be easy so I was relaxed. But After the 10 mins I realised it was even more difficult climbing down the uneven steps. It had just rained and got very cold. The had got wet because of the rain and now it was even worse. I was so careful in climbing down each step and there were porters who were carrying about 20-25 kgs were just running down the stairs as if they were running on the dry flat land.
I was thinking of that and I dont know what happened I slipped one of the rocks.Oouuch !! That hurt so bad, the right side of my bum was so much in pain. Thank God Walter and Isabella were there who helped me, but i felt bad that because of me that there pace was slowed as well. Isabella was struggling as well but I dont think she was in pain as me.I told them couple of times to go further and not wait for me, but they wouldnt leave my sight. I am very thankful to them. We were a great team.We conquered the second campsite. We got to the check point at about 1.15pm. We saw Anthony was already waitng there resting on a rock, he had been there for 2 hours. Yep he had got there at 11.30am.
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Anthony´s Account of Deadwomans Pass

As Harsh mentioned we parted at about 09.30am after the first resting point. Whilst we started the Inca trail together, we both had different goals ahead of us and differing abilities. For Harsh, it was to complete this monumental climb. For me it was to push my body to the limit in high altitude and see how fast I could complete day two. Many people we spoke to said this day was the hardest and they were right. The First part of the day till 10.30 was much tougher than the day before as the climbing aspect was much longer. I thought that was going to be the toughes part of the day. I asked Carlos how much longer till the campsite when we got the morning snack sight. He replied about 1 Hour. At this point I thought I would go ahead as he would be with Harsh and it was only an Hour. I took off uphill with the aid of Harsh´s Ipod. This helped alot as the music playing in my ear was the same as the round the block runs along east boundary rd. However what started off as supposed to be an hour solo effort turned out to be about double that. As I neared Dead womans pass, my legs started to fatigue slightly, the sheer site of the top although welcoming was daunting. My heart rate peaked at about 170 as I did not stop for more than a few seconds along the way. There was alot of tired looking people along the way who had set off long before us. I must say it was impressive to see so many older people, some nearing their sixties.

Reaching the top was quite a relief as it meant it was all down hill from here. I did not stop too much at the top as I did not want to cool down. It was actually harder doing this trail with big breaks in between as you would have to warm up again. With that in mind I tried to emulate the porters and run down the mountain. This was a lot of fun and I was so glad that I had purchased a pair of trekking shoes with vibrim grip(thanks Yogus). Even though there was a bit of dampness my traction was solid. Even though the grip was good there was an awful lot of steps down. Very narrow and with a large depth. It helped having smaller feet and a low center of gravity. About an hour and a half into the second part of the day I was beggining to think Carlos was having me on again as even though I appeared to be going faster than the majority of trekkers he told me it was only going to take an hour. I actually thought I had taken a wrong turn as there was no other people in sight for awhile. Just me and the Ipod. But I soon was reassured when I saw the bright tents in the distant valley beneath me. I eventually reached the camp site about 11.25am about 15 minutes before our porters so I knew that I had got here in good time. I felt quite satisfied at first and begin to relax as I had the whole day to rest up for tomorrow.

My Relaxation however, turned to anxiety when Carlos arrived at about 12.30 with out Harsh,walter and Isa. I left thinking Carlos would be there with them. He assured me they were only about 20 minutes behind. I began to rethink my decision of leaving Harsh behind and began wondering whether the climb had been too much for her as each minute went by. Eventually though She arrived at about 1.30pm. I was really proud of her effort. I had mixed feeelngs about not being there during her struggle at the same time was happy we both achieved our individual goals.

Back to Harsh´s account
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By the time we got to the campsite the porters were there offcourse, and had the lunch ready. I missed out on the 3 course lunch but loved the soup. Took a great nap in the till 5.30pm and was woken up for tea. Had nice caramel crackers, popcorn and tea and coffee.
Dinner was ready at 7.15pm, had another great meal offcourse a 3 course meal. Had a great soup, and a nice stuffed chicken roll. With rice and salad and dessert. We finished dinner and got invited to the couple´s tent, didnt talk for long as we were so tired we went to sleep before 9am. Had an early start at 6.30am.
All in all had a great day. Was a very difficult trek but I am so proud that I finished the most difficult day of the trek.Thanks to Walter and Isabella for helping me when I was hurt and didnt worry about themselves and took it at my own pace. I am looking forward to tommorrow, it is assumed to be easy.

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Posted by Harshu 13:11 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu-Day 1

The Journey begins (Read in Following sequence Day 1,2,3,4)

In the last four days we embarked on what many consider the pinnacle of destinations to visit in south america, The Classic 4 day Inca Trail ending in Machu Picchu.

Many questions would be asked of our fitness and stamina along this journey not to mention a test of each other´s patience. Could Shetty´s heart and knees with stand the altitude and steep climb of dead womans pass? Could I encounter 4 days in the wilderness without hot water and a decent toilet? Would we end up being irratable due to the close proximity and being out of our comfort zone? Would Machu picchu live up to the hype?

Well all of those questions were surely answered along the course of the four days.

Day 1

After a 7am Pick up we made the bus trip to Ollantaytambo along with Carlos our infectious guide, Walter and Isabel our fellow group members and new friends from Austria and the five porters/cook( Chu Chu,Rohillio,Quan,Daniel and Alexendrio).

We grabbed a quick bite to eat along with snacks,poncho and Walking sticks,wet ones and set off for kilometer 82 where the trail began.
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Carlos assured us the day was going to be moderate, (Amigo´s 70% flat and 30% climbing). After a few happy snaps of the group we got straight into an incline and my heart rate was already over 150 and beginning to questions Carlos´s oveview already. However as soon as we reached the first Zig Zag the trail flattened out and we were all able to breath easier. Harsh and Isabel seemed to Gel together from the onset and were walking at similar pace from the start. This helped ease both their anxiety as they were worried about lagging behind before we started. Myself and Walter headed up front at a relaxed pace whilst Carlos switched his attention evenly between the girls and us before the first break.

Speaking of the first break it came within 1 hour 20 minutes of the start although the group stopped for pics and breathers in between as well. Immediately as we sat down it started to rain quite heavily and we were thankful for the 3 soles investment in plastic ponchos. Although we looked like dicks it served its pupose.

After the short break we headed for XXXXXX the first of the Archeological Inka Sights we were to see enroute. We did not actually visit this sight but viewed it from above in panarama.

By Noonish we stopped at our lunch site, the first think we noticed was the state of the toilets. Well let me just say I thought Indian trains were bad. Well they are but these rivalled them. I though to myself I aint going to eat for the next 4 days. However that thought was soon quashed when I laid eyes on the amazing three couse meal our cook and helpers had prepared from scratch, Garlic bread,soup,Grilled Chicken,rice, Veggies the works. What was more amazing was that these guys set off afte us with18-25Kilos of equipment and luggage on their back but had managed to set up a dining tent and prepare the meals for us. Lucky they set up the tent as it was by now bucketing down with rain. I wished we could have just slept the night then in that tent.

Unfortunately we set off again after Lunch for a further 2hours for our night camp site, xxxxxxx. Towards the end of day one we began to feel the pinch slightly as the inclines to the camp site was steep and after 5-6 hours walking we could have done without a tough finish. However what we did this day would mean we did no have to do the day after.

Our camp site xxxxxx was great. We had fantastic view and were away from the masses of other groups who were also at the site. We had our own toilets which I thought was favourable at first but changed my mind when I realised the flush did not work. Well looks like no dinner fo me again.

However once again Chu Chu our cook made that impossible to stick by preparing pop corn and cookies for afternoon tea followed by amazing freshly cought fish for dinner. One can get used to this type of camping(Someone to cook, someone to set up your tent)

After dinner we sipped on a few Cervesa´s that we purchased from a local boy who stalked us at the camp site. The four of us in the group decided to get to know each other better and chatted till late in our tent. It seemed Walter and Isabel also noticed the flush problem and we spent the best of the evening on potty talk, which was weird andstrange conversation with people we had just met. Hey but it was a good ice breaker. Well that was day one. Moderate like Carlito explained, Great food, good company, poor sanitory and great crew. Bring on Day two!!!

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Posted by HonestAnth 17:21 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Way to Cuzco

Copcabana- Puno- Cusco

After the mesmerizing experience of the Titicaca Lake we had to make our way to Puno.We took the boat back to Copacabana at about 10.30am which took about 90mins to get there.We had a great 3 course meal which was 15 Bolivians. The bus ride to get to Puno was pretty bumpy unlike the business class seats and smooth buses of Argentina and Chile..
We cleared the border after a little drama as usual.

We got to Puno at about 3.30pm. Originally we were going to stay a night in Puno but due to the strike in Lapaz and staying there for an extra night made it difficult as we had to come to Cusco before 19th.So once we got to Puno we made a decision of not staying in Puno and just taking the bus straight to Cusco.

At the bus station we met this guy who was I think working for the bus company and was showing us the way to get the bus that goes to Cusco. On the way he asked Anthony if we needed accommodation and booked us at a hotel in Cusco saying its the best option. We were going to get to Cusco at midnight so Anthony just booked the place as we were going to get a transfer from the bus terminal to the hotel. The bus ride was worse than the one to Puno. Crap roads and I think something was wrong with the bus, as it was bumpy even on good roads. So finally we got to Cusco at 12am. There was a man waiting for us so the anxiety of we paying a total stranger who we cant trace back if no one was at the Terminal went away.

The hotel was an absolute shocker but couldn’t really do anything about it as had already paid for that night. First thing in the morning we went hostel hunting.
Found a really nice place for the same price and it ended up one the same street where our Inca Trail tour operator’s office was located. So got our bags from the other hostel and checked into this new place.

After resting for a little while we went to the all trek office which looked a bit dodge at first. But Anthony met the girl he was in contact with via emails so it was all good. She educated us about the trip and the meeting with the guide and the rest of the group. There were only 2 other people another couple so we were very happy that it was very small group.

In the evening we went wandering in the city centre. Cusco is really clean and pretty. We went for dinner and had another great set menu meal which was 15 Solas and had nice balcony view of the Central Plaza. We can get used to the cheap set menu meals.

The next day we decided to do some sightseeing. We went to see this Jesuit church called la Compania. amazing place. This Church is a prominent structure on the main square and is said to be one of the beautiful structures of the Inca rulers palaces. This churh is known to the best examples of Baroque architecture in South America.It was built in the 16th century but was demolished by the earthquake in 1650 and was rebuilt again after 18 years.

Inside La Compañía de Jesús the golden altarpiece is decorated with wreathed columns, the whole thing is covered in 22c gold leaf. Different features of image of the Virgin and panel of transfigurations recognizing the the Flemish Jesuit Diego de la Puente.La Compañía possesses important works of art, including a picture of Saint Ignatius de Loyola by the local painter Marcos Zapata, and a Crucifixion by Cristo de Burgos near the main altar.

The paintings to either side of the entrance, which depict the marriages of Saint Ignatius's nephews. One of these especially exemplifies Peru's mestizo character, depicting the granddaughter of Manco Inca marrying the man who captured the last Incan leader, Tupac Amaru.

After admiring the church for a good couple of hours it was nearly time for our meeting with our tour guide and the couple. We got there at 7pm. Met our tour guide Carlos. He seems like a nice guy. He spoke to us for a little while as we were waitng for the other couple. They finally arrived, an Austrian couple the guy was Walter and girl Isabella. They seem nice. Isabella had lived in India for two years a while ago so seemed very excited to know me. I felt excited as well as she was very positive about the experience. After the initial introduction Carlos briefed us about the Trail.

After the meeting we got a massage from one of the people who were stalking us and I suppose every tourist around the plaza. It was so good. I think it was a good idea to get a massage before the trail.

OMG we start the INCA TRAIL tommorrow. I am so anxious and scared. If I don’t make it alive please tell my mother I love her very very much !

Posted by Harshu 16:54 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Isla Del Sol

Steep Climbs,Beatiful Views and Pesti little Kids

After the day before’s false alarm we finally headed off for Lake Titicaca on the Tuesday. The ride on the bus provided yet more beautiful scenery along the way. I can´t stress how pretty Bolivia’s country side is with it’s crammed houses on the hills amongst it’s grassfilled hills against the awesome backdrop of it´s snow capped mountains.

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Thankfully no strike today, the only delay was when we had to get off the bus to pay our entry to Copacabana. It was quite funny as we had to get off the bus and get a boat to get to the other side of the land, Whilst our bus floated away with baggage on the roof on a floating barge. Our bus beat us across to the other side as the boat had issues and went at literally 1 K an hour.
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On arrival to Copacabana we took another one and half hour boat ride to the Isle De Sol, meaning island of the sun. We found our way to the correct habour thanks to Ricky a Local Guide who was accompanying two girls from Norway who were also on our bus.
Once we arrived at the habour we were supposed meet up with harviar the hotel owner who had promised to carry our luggage up the 200+ step Inka stone Stairway that greeted you when landing on the island. Instead we were met by a swarm of local kids trying to offer us guide and bag carrying services. We could not stoop to allow a 10 year old kid to carry our 15kilo luggage uphill for 30minutes Although it was tempting after we started reached 10 steps up. We were both determind to make it all the way but gave in after 20 steps when two older adolescent boys offered to help for 15 bolivianos($4) which was a much better than the 50 boliviano’s the little kids offered. Thankgod we gave in when we did because after the 200 steps it was another 25 Minutes up hill to our hotel Inti Kala. We almost stopped off and checked in to a few hostels lower on the hill of Yumani. However, all the pain of walking up the hill was soon forgotten when we reached the summit and laid eyes on the view that greeted us from our hotel balcony. It was nothing shot of amafuc#ingzing!!!! Imagine lush green hills with inca stone work laid amidst them, continuing downwards to the most prestine blue lake which was as large as the ocean. Beyond it´s horizon was Peru and its own hilly backdrop. WOW!!
We simply sat on the balcony and enjoyed a welcome drink with our feet up for the first hour we were there.

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Initially we intended to trek to the other side of the island but could not go past this magnificent view. Funnily enough, Ricky and the girls from Norway also checked into the same hotel but they had got off earlier on the boat trip and made thereway on a different path.

Later on in the evening we made our way to a higher point of the Island to enjoy the breathtaking Sunset. It was beautiful, as delightful as the three dancing kids we saw on the mountain top. Well actually it was more delightful than them as one of the girls we gave a few bolivianoes to take pictures of turned Ferrell when we gave an extra boliviano to her friend. Yes this seven year old kid literally followed and pested Harsh for about 10 minutes straight. Shetty’s lude experlatives could not even deter this little runt’s persistence as she continued to hound Harsh for more cash unpeturbed. But not even she could take away from the breath taking scenery from the top of the island and our dinner table where we devowed the islands finest Truche(trout). The best part of the night was ears dropping on Ricky the Guide of the Noreagan girls from across the dinner table. Yes we got some great insight about Bolivian Culture and Customs from Ricky who chatted lated into the night with us. All guides Should as passionate as him.

Early next morning I took off to the southern most part of the island to see the Inca ruins alone as Shetty rested. Whilst the site was quite impressive, not having a guide with me meant Idid not get the whole picture and story behind it. Never the less it was a good mini excursion.

I wish we had more time here as there was more to see on the North end but we were pressed for time and made the tough journey back to the harbour with our backpacks to catch the boat at 10.30 after breaky on Wednesday.

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Posted by HonestAnth 19:53 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

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