Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Peru - Machu Picchu, part 2: Exploring and the Inca Trail

After Karina said goodbye to us we decided to eat a little snack and then explore the area more on our own as the morning crowds cleared out. We found a little place to sit and it seemed perfect, the view definitely was beautiful. Then we were joined by huge ants, a millipede and some alpacas :-).  (the pictures Mike took with the zoom are mixed into these)
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we saw some seriously awesome poses from tourists while on our trip and Mike recreated some gems for us :-)
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We headed up to the top of the mountain opposite from Wayna Picchu and got a little lost, taking a long way there. It was so easy to get turned around in the ruins!
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Eventually we made our way up to where we trying to go and were awed by the views! We would take a bunch of pictures at one level and then we would get to the next one and realize it was even better :-).
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SOOO unbelievable!!! I still can't believe I was there :-)!
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(and there is my awesome hat! don't be jealous)
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When we got to the top the path forked and we could either go see an Inca bridge or head down part of the Inca trail. We decided to go check out the bridge first and it was the scariest of all the hikes we did. If you lost your balance and fell to the wrong side, you were a gonner!
The bridge was on a pretty much completely vertical, sheer rock mountain side and if you look carefully to the right of the bridge in the wider angle shots you can see that a very skinny little path continues along the side of the mountain (the green ridge). We decided that instead of jail they must have sent anyone who got in trouble to build that path and bridge as punishment. Many lives were definitely lost in the process!
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one example of the trail and the side of the mountain...someone put those rocks there!
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We headed back and this time took the path in the other direction to follow the Inca trail. You can do an Inca trail hike that takes 4 days and ends at Machu Picchu, which I'm sure is amazing, but we all decided we were really glad we didn't do it. You would be so exhausted by the time you reached the actual site of Machu Picchu that it would harder to really enjoy it and take it in. One group of people who had done it were at one of the same spots as us during our tour and there were about 10 steps that led up to a temple and one of the girls went up and turned and told the rest of them "don't come, it's not worth it" as the rest complained about how sore their legs were :-). Our little hike was perfect for us!
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this picture looks totally faked, but it's not!
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those switchbacks going up the mountain are how the buses get people up to the site
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We made it back down and got on the bus, heading back to Agua Calientes, feeling tired and HUNGRY! We decided to eat and then turn in early for the night since we had another early morning and busy day ahead of us. We went to a little restaurant that we had spotted right when we got off the train early that morning. It ended up being my favorite food of the trip! We got chips and guacamole as an appetizer and it was AMAZING!!! The chips were light and crispy and the guacamole was so fresh. Mike and I also got some tequenos that also came with gauc and were so good. The same light crispiness of the chips but filled with cheese. I want more right now! After being entertained by some of the options on the menu Mike went with the trout to the male thing (for real!) and really liked it and I got an aztec chicken soup that was so good too.
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rosty trout salad with golf anyone?!
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Then it was back to the hotel for much needed showers! Our room had a little balcony with an amazing view of the river. It was crazy how loud it was! I kept thinking a fan was on or something in our room and then I would remember it was the rapids that were right across the street. I think we were asleep by 9pm that night we were so exhausted...and relieved that we had survived the trip without getting sick long enough to see Machu Picchu :-)!
that's Kevin and Janna in the window
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to the left
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and right
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the restaurant we loved and my favorite peru snack, inka corn
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