Machu Picchu with the McFriesens
12.05.2008 - 22.05.2008 25 °C
After spending some time in the desert we headed up to the Chilean border town of Arica to catch the train into Peru. Arriving in Tacna, we immediately caught a bus up to Arequipa. We stayed two days there and were stuck in town while Nathan and Trish were in Cusco because of a two day road blockade. The blockade closed down the border between Peru and Bolivia and also with Chile to protest the rising prices of staples such as tomatoes and chicken. It also coincided with the EU/South America economic summit held in Lima.
So we met up with the McFriesens on the 16th and then headed on a four day Inka Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu the following day. The trek itself was fun, hot, and smelly. The first day we biked downhill for four hours or so on a very dusty and bumpy road. The second day we hiked along a section of an Inka trail linking Machu Picchu with Vilacabamba (the final Inka stronghold, where the last Inka king was killed), relaxed at a lady´s house where she had a refridgerator (in the middle of nowhere) pet monkey and anteater-like creature, crossed the river in a flying fox, and had a much deserved soak in a hot spring. The third day we walked to Agua Calientes and then hiked up a neighboring mountain to view Machu Picchu from above. The fourth day we woke at 4am to begin hiking at 4:30 to get to Machu Picchu for sunrise. We spent the day exploring the ruins and spent a couple hours climbing Wayna Picchu, the mountain seen behind the ruins in the postcard pictures of the site. Headed back to Cusco that night on train.
The following day was Corpus Christi, the second largest festival in Cusco, and the streets were filled with dancers, bands, folklore creatures, and floats of Jesus, Mary, and saints. The colours, sounds and smells were a sensory overload.