Machu Picchu, here we come! The day we had been looking forward to for months. The spot Alicia and I were most excited to ‘JUMP’ at!
The morning started off in a huge rush for everyone. The plan was to head to the Sun Gate by 4:30AM (or so) to line up to enter, so that we could see the view of a sunrise upon Machu Picchu itself. The Sun Gate was at a higher elevation and overlooks Machu Picchu – it is supposed to be a very scenic and picturesque spot. In order to do so we had to wake up at around 3:40AM to get dressed (or in my case, I believe I just got dressed the night before), pack everything and get out of our tents so the porters could pack up all the gear. They too were in a huge rush as they had an early morning train booked to catch to return back home for work right away.
Unfortunately as the Sun Gate does not open it’s doors until about 6AM, we had to wait outside to enter. Our group was one of the latest groups to arrive in line too > < so we felt like it was a bit redundant to wake up extra early just to line up in the dark…
I had always counted Day 4, this last day, as a non-real hiking day, but was I ever in for a surprise. There was a good 1-2 hour of walking from the entrance of the Sun Gate to the actual “look out” point! We missed the sunrise by the way, because it took us too long to walk…. Next there was also another 30 mins – 1 hour of walking from there to Machu Picchu itself. By now, my feet were starting to get worn and that made me tire quite easily.
I’m not sure if it’s because we were having a more overcast day, the view at the Sun Gate was not the best… Machu Picchu still looked relatively small from the distance. However, group photos were taken and Alicia and I managed to successfully get a Jumping Shot. Apparently jumping is not allowed at ruin sites, we were warned shortly after….It was a bit disappointing to hear as throughout the whole trip we had been taking jumping photos at each tourist attraction to lead up to the grande finale of one AT Machu Picchu :( We didn’t dare to jump there in the end. However, apparently our group mate Michel took a piss at Machu Picchu LOL (He said he had to go, and then shortly had to run away from the workers who probably saw)
The only aspect I would say that unfortunately draws away from Machu Picchu’s beauty (one of the New 7 Wonders of the World), is the sheer amount of tourists. You can distinctly tell who was a hiker on the trails and who was a tourist by not only the clothing, but laughably also the smell. Some tourists had a very distinct lovely laundry smell.
We had a bit of a history lesson from our guide Javier, looked at llamas and alpacas who walked freely in the area, and then had free time to walk around and explore.
In the afternoon we headed to the nearby town Aguas Calientes for a quick lunch before going on the train to head back to Cusco. We had our ‘last supper’ in Cusco with everyone, and then only us youngins (Corrine, Derrick, Alicia, and our guides Javier and Yenrri, and myself), went to a popular club for tourists in town, Mama Africa! What’s funny is in Peru they have promoters in the streets giving out free drink tickets. Being me…I usually say no to everything that is passed around by strangers, we had to scramble back tot he promoter grab it when we noticed Javier got it, and that it was for a free drink.
The night was fun and enjoyable, I always enjoy going out to experience the night life in foreign countries. There is something amazing and oddly freeing in partying in a place where you don`t know anyone and vice versa (not that we do anything crazy). It was a great way to say goodbye to Peru.
In the morning we said goodbye to a few other groupmates who were in the same connecting flight as us from Cusco to Lima. It was quite bittersweet as we had really bonded with some of them throughout this time. Doing this hike was tolling, physical, and tough, so our group really did feel like a family as we spent a week travelling, eating, and living together :) #hungryhikers
This was a very adventurous trip compared to travels that I have gone to in the past. I went to a new country, a new continent, and even hiked/camped! Many people told me they were shocked or impressed with me on embarking such a trip. I’m not really sure how I feel about these comments to be honest. Maybe subconsciously throughout the years I’ve grown into someone that liked adventures, or maybe I was always that person but just didn’t have the chance or take the jump to do it. Nevertheless, I am really glad that the idea of Machu Picchu was instilled into me from my friend Adrienne which ultimately led me to pursue the goal, and for Alicia who joined me in this journey <3
I’ll be continuing my travel blogging on my trip during the Christmas holidays to San Francisco, and on trips that are scheduled for 2016 so far. I’ve got Boston for this upcoming long weekend, and Jordan & Dubai/Abu Dhabi with Alicia (again, hehe) in May 2016! Very excited!!!