06 October 2008

The pilgrimage to the land of the inkas

Two weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to go to MachuPicchu, a place I've wanted to visit forever! It was the last big blow out with my sister before she headed back to the states. And that it was a non-stop, no sleep blow out.

It started out at 10pm taking an 8 hour night bus to Guayaquil in order to save $150 on a plane ticket to Lima. So we arrive in Guayaquil at 6:00am. Ugh. Not a good way to start a trip, but we're budget travelers. We go straight to Aguas Calientes (otherwise known as MachuPicchu town) only a 30 minute drive to MP. It's an odd cluttered town stuck in the crevice of the mountains with restaurants and hostels stacked on top of each other along with a lifetime and a half supply of mosquitoes. But it's the only way to arrive at MP early enough to hike WaynaPicchu. So we (still exhausted from night buses, planes, and trains) go to bed at 8pm in order to wake up at 3:30am!! What were we thinking?? But only 400 people are allowed to hike WaynaPicchu (the big mountain in every MP picture) a day and with over 1,000 visitors a day we had to hike up to MP in order to be the first in line at 6am to be the first in line for WaynaPicchu. Phew. So in the pitch dark we start hiking up the hill (better said climbing) it's only an hour and a half hike because it's ALL stairs. A stair master nightmare, but right when you think your chest is going to collapse from the high altitude there it is…the entrance!! Once the gates were opened there was this rushing running with the bulls like phenomenon to reach Wayna Picchu. So being good tourists and completely lost in the early morning fog we followed the herd and some how ended up 3rd and 4th in line. Thanks to the two Brazilian brothers that actually knew where they were going. We didn't really realize what the WaynaPicchu trail entailed but had read rave reviews so just went for it. It wasn't until 45 minutes later after climbing up the almost 180 degree hillside of stairs that more closely resembled a latter we reach the top of the mountain. Yes thanks to our ignorance we climbed that big mountains in every MP pictures and it wasn't even 8 o'clock in the morning. Although we were enveloped in a blanket of fog until 830 it was the most amazing view when we finally did see the ruins. We then spent the rest of the morning/afternoon exploring the ruins which were immaculate and built with such art and preciseness.

MachuPicchu was every bit as spectacular and breath taking as you would imagine.

We then started heading back to Lima stopping in Cusco (the more known and popular jump off point to MP) it was a gorgeous colonial town overflowing with culture, artisan goods, and dreadlocks. We instantly feel in love and regretted only spending one night. But with a limited time we wanted to spend time in the capital, Lima. Lima is a huge loud, dirty, chaotic, and elegant city with over 8 million inhabitants. Visiting the different neighborhoods you feel as if you are in almost different worlds. We started in Miraflores (the posh neighborhood) and at first glance you could mistake it for New York or some huge American city overflowing with suits, Starbucks, towering buildings, McDonald's, and English. But 20 minutes away in old town Lima transformed into an old European town with elegant churches and beautiful plazas, but two blocks north of plaza grande we were quickly brought back to the reality of life in Peru suffocated by car exhaust, my thoughts were drowned out by the clamor of bumper to bumper traffic, and my eyes shocked by witnessing a women's purse getting stolen from her right in front of me. But that is Latin America and the great divide between the rich and the impoverished.

Overall it was an all out exhausting adventure that I will forever cherish.

Enjoy the pictures and videos.
Much love to you always.


The machupicchu vid
Aguas Calientes
The long journey home
Name that City game show

No comments: