Early start yet again and our taxi dropped us off at a petrol station in Urubamba. Absolute pandemonium. There were taxis, buses, tuk tuks, motorbikes, tractors even llamas all fighting to get into the petrol station. I have no idea where they put the pump in the llama.
Thirteen folk in our group, two Scots, two Canadians, two Danish and seven Americanos.
We secured the most experienced guide in Bernardo, and off we set. Pretty short and easy first day took us to the first campsite which I can only describe as very basic. The place was 'under construction' or possibly demolition. Our tent was apart from the others for some reason and we shared a room, or field even, with a donkey a sheep and some chickens. Early to bed as the second day is legendary as being a bugger of a hike, we were woken up often with either the sheep or donkey munching round the tent and also leaning against it waking us up. The tent was too wee for me so we'd move to diagonal sleeping from day two.....
The toilets were pretty bogging, pun intended, but compared to the next two days were a breath of fresh air. I do have to tell you about Gina's first lunchtime trip to the toilets though........
So off she goes to the block where you stand astride a hole in the ground. As she squats her sunglasses fall off her head, bounce forwards and then backwards, and one of the lenses from her £200 Oakleys goes straight down the hole. Now the hole contained numerous soft squidgy brown parts donated from other people and some nice females had contributed their sanitary ware too so a nice mixture. Gina unperturbed, gets her hand in there to scoop about trying to find the missing lens. You would think that after a minute or so of rummaging in this fine mixture she'd give up but no...., she invited the guide to the party too and after donning a natty scarf around his mouth in he goes but this time up to the elbow. A glorious and noble attempt but sadly no joy, plenty jobby but no joy. This is a story to keep forever I think. I'll leave you to think about it....... Lovely
Up early for the notorious second day. I don't think we've ever experienced such a slog. For those of you who have walked the Grouse Grind in Vancouver, this is easily ten times worse and there's no gondola to get you back down again. Thousands and thousands of steep steps both up to the highest point and then back down again. Nightmare but we managed it. Not much to see on this day as lots of the time we were in shade and to be honest we couldn't lift our eyes anyways as the steps were so treacherous. A long horrible slog got us eventually to the campsite where we managed to avoid going to the toilets. Me because they were hideous. I had to keep Gina from playing in them.
Day three we had a sixteen kilometre walk to look forward to but as it was nicer to view and not as high/painful, the time passed quickly and we were soon at the final camp. We managed to get a lovely site just above the toilets and the aroma of fresh and stale pee mixed with the delights of multo jobbies that hadn't managed to meet the hole in the ground, made for an unpleasant few hours. Thankfully, and I never thought I'd ever say this, we were up for 3am to start the walk/jog in the dark to Machu Picchu.
The race was on to get to Machu Picchu before our traumatised bowels gave up the ghost and insisted we allow the 'train carriages to leave the station'. We eventually made it to Machu Picchu just in time before Gina exploded.
I'm not going to go into what Machu Picchu was like as I could never do it justice but it was truly amazing, a wonder of the world indeed and it felt better to have done the Inca Trail prior for some reason. Watching the 'tourists' get off the bus gave us a sense of satisfaction and a feeling of superiority........
A night in Aguas Calientes was had in the Rupawasi Lodge and sure enough it was up a steep bloody hill to get to it. Fortunately it and the Tree Top Restaurant were top class, comfortable, had great views and we slept great. Gina as she was dog tired, me cos I was pig drunk.
There is a sad end to the story of the Inca Trail though and I neither want sympathy nor donations. The fluff I had collected over the three weeks has either been lost or more likely stolen. The Danes we met on the trail had their camera stolen on their last day in Lima. I feel similarly aggrieved losing my fluff which is irreplaceable having been made in Peru in such trying circumstances.
Reward offered for said fluff...
One and a half days were spent in Cusco where Gina did her best to add to the crystal stones, Peru artifacts, Peru alpaca textiles collection and we had to get more dosh from el banks.
A marathon 25 hour journey got us home to a nice welcome home surprise from Heather who had hid in the airport waiting for us.
Sleep, and then more sleep in prep for Europe.. To be continued