Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
I survived my 4 day hike through the Andes to Machu Picchu along the ancient Inca Trail. Got better the day we started thankfully as it turns out I got food poisoning and altitude sickness at the same time so got hit doubly hard. But I made it, and that's all that matters. First day got up at 5am to take a bus to km 82 where we started the hike. There were 7 of us, our local guide, 12 porters and 2 cooks. Although it was rustic and the hike was hard, we were extremely pampered with 3 course meals and we only had to carry our day packs. Second day again woke up around 5am to start hiking. Had to start early because since we are at such high altitude there's more oxygen in the mornings. 3 hours straight uphill to Deadwoman's Pass, named so because the side of the mountain looks like a face and the main peak looks like a breast, which inspired some quite funny quotes as we were all struggling our way up, such as "where is that bloody nipple" and "well if she's not dead, I'm going to kill her when I get there." At 4,200 meters altitude we then started our hour and a half climb down stairs to lunch, before climbing up another couple hours to our second pass, Runkuruqay High Pass. The third day we climbed to Phuyupatamarca Pass and then climbed down over 2000 stairs to our campsite where we took a smaller hike to the ancient ruins of Winaywayna. At this third campsite there was actually a bar and showers (although they were on a hillside with a window that I found out later I was probably spied on seeing as the Australian lady we were with caught some of the porters hanging through the window and chased them around the campsite screaming "you cheeky w***s"). Yesterday woke up at 3:50am to hike to Machu Picchu. When we got there it was still too cloudy to get a view though so had to wait a few hours until it cleared. It was absolutely beautiful. Had a tour around the ruins with our guide (Rebe) that took us on the trail, who I believe was a little in love and nicknamed me babyface because I was the youngest in the group. Now am back in Cusco, and leave for the Amazon tomorrow. More that I've seen/done since I last wrote? Rode around on a took took (bike taxi), hit a dog and almost flipped over, explored Puno more before taking a bus ride to Cusco. Walked around Cusco, went to the old Cathedral to see a black Jesus and a picture of the last supper with a guinnea pig as the main course. Went white water rafting, and fell in love with our guide who not only offered to stop for a beer run on the way back to Cusco, but insisted and made the bus driver pull over. He invited us to go out clubbing with him as well, but seeing as we were starting the Inca Trail the next day we had to decline. Tonight am going out clubbing though so I can experience some of Cusco's nightlife. That's about it for now. I love hearing from all of you, so keep the emails coming. Love and miss you all. Ciao.