Arrived in Cuzco at 6am and went to 4 hostels before we found one in our budget price range. Got ourselves sorted and booked a day trip rafting! On the bus to the river, we made friends with some nice australian boys and a canadian girl who ended up being our team. They decked us out in some seriously sexy old school rafting gear and we hired ancient tevas for our feet. During the short 10 min safety brief at the rivers edge typical us we spent most of the time in excited silly laughter. We got on the river and went through some of the commands and then before we could comprehend the guide had said "now we will practise what happens when we flip" we were upside down in the river. Megan and Emily both got stuck under the boat.. not fun. After we scrambled back into the raft our team dominated the river! We made it up to some 4+ grade rapids. All of us had permanent smiles on our faces the entire 3 hours. It was rad.
That night we had dinner at a restaurant called 'Jack's' with one of the auzzie boys. It was absolutely delicious and got through mucho cerveza (beer) and cocktails. We met the guides at a bar to watch the video they took of us. By the time we got there they were all pretty wasted and we witnessed some seriously sleezy dancing from some incredibly sleezy guys, mullets included. The head guide kindly enlightened us that the reason we were the only group to get purposely flipped because us girls were not paying attention to the safetly talk and he wanted to freak us out! It certainly worked, Emily got stuck under for ages and when she finally made it out the guide flipped the boat back and it landed straight on her head again.
The next day took us on a 10 hour tour to the famous sacred valley of the incas, a long day when you feel seedy, but luckily it was very sunny day. We saw lots of ruins, a massive face carved into the mountain side, beautiful scenary, amazing colonial church, enjoyed a bit of market shopping.
We though all our shopping was done when we left Bolivia but Cuzco changed that pretty quick smart. The day before the inca trail was our 'rest day' = an entire day shopping. In 3days we spent about 4 hours in a pottery shop and bought rediculous amounts of mugs and bowls and more BREAKABLES! We got home and all couldnt believe how much stuff we had accumulated and how much we had spent! We're obviously not 'true' backpackers! All working with about 3bags each!
The Inca Trail is going to be a hard one to write about because it was such an incredible experiance and one that has to be experianced to understand the magic of it all. It started at 6am when we got picked up by our guide 'Gonzalez' and met Mark and Junka a british couple. The first day didn't involve a lot of walking, about 3hours on the flat in our hot brightly coloured plastic rain ponchos, and with our bambo walking sticks which in the days to come we couldn't live without! For our group of 5 there were 9 porters and the guide. The porters is what makes some of this trip so weird, they each carry about 30kg each on their backs in a big sheet bundle. The Run the track in crappy sandels made of old tires and get to the camp site hours before you even get close to set up the sleeping tents, food tent and have hot drinks and a gormet 4 course meal waiting for you in the middle of no where! its maddness. The food was incredible. We put on weight doing this tramp.
The second day we had heard was the hardest.. started at 6am and it was straight up all day moving from 3000m altitude to 4000m. It was pretty much a walk in the park until we got to 3700m where we slowed down considerably due to the altitude and the rain, but we made it to the top all in one piece. We were so excited about achieving it so fast that we practically ran down the other side, making it to our campsite by 12pm where the porters greated us clapping and cheering as if they hadnt just done it with all that weight and in half the time! it was almost embarrasing.
Day 3 was the longest and the wettest, everything not covered by our ponchos was saturated. The walk was amazing, along the edge of mountains above the clouds and in the clouds. The camp site was beside a big lodge which had a bar so before dinner we bought 9 beers, one each for the porters! We couldn't communicate with them at all but when we gave them the beer it lit their faces up so much! It was silly, we felt so generous but it was nothing in compared to what they had done for us the last few days.
Day 4, 4am start and walking by 5 to catch the sunrise at the sungate, 6km from the campsite.. we didnt quite make it but stopped to watch it show itself from behind the impressive mountains.
When we arrived at the sungate we were still all checking out the mountains in the east and when we finally turned around we realised that there was machu picchu way below us! incredible.
We did a quick tour with Gonzales of all the temples and ruins and then before the clouds moved over Emily and Sarah did the walk up Wainupicchu, the mountain in all the classic photos. It was straight up a narrow track made of stairs with chiff wall on one side and cliff drop on the other. From the top we got a fantastic view of all the mountains and machu picchu, it was the highlight of the day.
Back down in reality we went to some hot springs in the jungle before catching the train back to cuzco. The train was horridly slow, it took 4hours and was very wobbly.
The next few day we relaxed in preparation for Rio.