I survived the Inca Trail! We set off on the Inca Trail on Monday...we got up at 4.30am as we were due to be picked up at 5.30am. Our shower didn't work and then the bus didn't turn up until 6.30am!! We later found out that it was late as the driver was drunk so they had to get an emergency driver! We had a 1 and a half hour bus journey to the last town before km82 (where we started the Inca Trail) where we had breakfast and bought our walking poles! (they were my best friend for 4 days, I can hardly walk without them now!!). The bus journey was hilarious as we wound our way along steep cliffs and over railway lines (no level crossings here, the driver just looks to see if a train is coming!!). We were really lucky with our group for the tour, we were with 3 English guys which was lots of fun. There were lots of other groups on the trail at the same time although it is the quietest time of year at the moment as it's rainy season. The porters that carried all the tents etc were unbelievable. Most of them carried about 20kg, just walked in sandals and ran most of the way!! We walked most of the morning but it wasn't too hard on day 1, a few steep hills but nothing too bad. We stopped and had a gorgeous lunch, made for us by the porters. The food was amazing, 3 big meals a day cooked by the chef porter and eaten in our little dining tent! We arrived at our campsite about 4pm on day 1, amazing views across to one of the highest (snow-capped) mountains, Veronica. We had another amazing dinner...with a hilarious dessert...the porters made flaming bananas...in the tent!! A bit of a fire risk!! We didn't have much sleep on day 1 as ther was a huge thunderstorm which kept us awake. Day 2 was the hardest day of the treck as we climbed up to 4,200m in the morning (5 hours). The altitude got to me a bit, headache, out of breath etc, but we made it! Then we had to walk downhill for another 2 hours which was also really hard! Really steep slippery steps!! Day 3 was much easier. The first couple of hours were uphill, then the afternoon was mainly downhill. We arrived at the campsite about 3pm. It was such a beautiful campsite, and we had hot showers!! Very welcoming. We had to pay for them but it was the best 5 soles I've ever spent!! In the evening we had the very awkward "tipping ceremony" where all the porters were called in to the dining tent and we had to shake all their hands and tip them, not knowing how much was acceptable! Day 4 was absolutely hilarious. The porters woke us up at 3.41am by shaking our tent and saying "buenos dias". We then packed our stuff in the dark, ate a pancake at 4am and then trecked down a very steep path in the pitch black to get to the last check point before Machu Picchu. We had to queue until it opened at 5.30am (we had to get there early as there were about 500 other people waiting to do the same thing). We got through the gate and walked an hour to the "sun gate" where you get the best view of MP....it was totally cloudy and we couldn't see a thing...well worth getting up at 3.41am for!! We walked another hour until we got to MP, luckily the clouds cleared and we got some amazing views. We had a tour around MP for about 2 hours which was amazing...but we were so tired and our legs had just about given up by this point!! We then got the bus down the mountain to Aguas Calientes and had lunch, went to the hot springs, and sat and watched a movie in a bar until it was time for our train at 7pm!! Our train journey was the most hilarious part of the day. We were exhausted and thought we might sleep for a bit...but no....our train turned up, a small 1 carriage toy train...we got on and there were 6 stewards which we didnt understand seeing as there were only about 40 people on the train!! It soon became clear. One of the stewards started setting out lots of jumpers at the front of the train, so bizarre. Then he disappeared in to the toilet for ages and came out wearing a mask, a fake llama, and started dancing up and down the train!! I have never laughed so much. As if that wasn't funny enough, another 2 of the stewards then proceeded to give us a fashion show using the aisle as a catwalk!! Absolutely ridiculous!!
So after all that excitement we're now back in Cusco, recovering and relaxing in the sun!xxx