Sunday, April 29, 2012

Peru Part 5a: Cuzco, the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu; April 8-14, 2012

On April 8, 2012 (Easter Sunday), we left Puno and started the trek to Cuzco to get ready for the Inca Trail! The drive to Cuzco took about 7 hours. On the way we stopped in a small town for lunch. We went to a tiny restaurant to try out the lamb. It turned out that the lamb had been cooked whole on spit and was sitting on the sidewalk of this small street cafĂ© all wrapped up in paper and clothes.  When we ordered our lunch the restaurant owner unwrapped the lamb, cut off chunks with a machete, pulled some roasted potatoes out of the lambs body cavity and put it all together in a basket for us to eat with our hands.  It seemed a little crude and questionable, but it was delicious! Once we arrived in Cusco we checked into our hotel and explored the main square and enjoyed a Starbucks coffee before meeting with our group for an Inca Trail briefing and a tasty dinner of gigantic hamburgers
Giant Burgers

Inca Ruins in Cusco
 The next day was a free day in Cusco to acclimatize and rest a bit before the hiking began. We spent the morning exploring the markets of Avenida del Sol, checking out the famous 12-sided stone in a local Inca wall in town and enjoying some super taste empanadas and milkshakes at a bakery near our hotel.
  After lunch we headed up to the Inca ruins in the hills above the town center, Sacsayhuman. We hired a guide and had a great tour of the ruins.  The blocks of stone used to build the ruins were huge. It was incredible! We also went for a walk and checked out a few more of the nearby ruins sites.  That evening we packed our bags for the Inca trail and went out for dinner where we learned how to make Pisco Sours!
12 sided Stone

 On Tuesday, April 10 we started the Inca Trail! After a 2.5 hr bus ride from Cusco to the trail head, known as Km 82, we passed off our gear to the porters, organized our day packs, signed in at the check point and were off! The pace for the day was slow and steady with breaks every hour or so.  We spent most of the day hiking through farm sites along the edge of the river through rolling hills .

There were also several little shops along the way with drinks and snacks to buy, which was nice. The weather was pretty decent, overcast and 15c, excellent fro hiking.  A couple hours into the hike we came across our first major Inca Ruin site, Llactapata. It was a fairly good sized city located across the river from us and was pretty cool to see. After a few hours of hiking we arrived at the lunch spot where our porters had a dining tent set up, washing water laid out and lunch ready to go.  
 We enjoyed an excellent lunch of grilled trout, rice and soup.  Some of the best food I’ve ever had on a backpacking trip! We got to our  camp at a place called Wayllabamba at around 4pm, after 11km of hiking,  where the tents were already set up for us. After an hour or so to enjoy a beer, get cleaned up and relax we had a tasty dinner of chicken and potatoes and then headed to bed for an early night.
Llactapata Ruins

Camp Site, Day 1

Stay tuned….Inca Trail blog to be continued…… Here for Photos

No comments:

Post a Comment