Day 8 : Machu Picchu

So to recap - we woke up at 4am, ate breakfast and hit the trail dark and early. The goal is to get the hikers into the Park hours before any bus or train tourist arrives. Your reward for hiking is an empty park at least 2 hours to yourself and the small amount of hikers they allow on the trail on any given day. The final section of the trail into Machu Picchu is about a 2 hour breeze-of-a-hike that spits you out onto the summit of Inti Punku (the Sun Gate). It overlooks Machu Picchu from above and if timed right, a sunrise view of the ruins.

With all the excitement in the world, we summited...... to a cloud bank that covered up the "majestic views"  and "breathtaking sunrise" we were promised. Shit. Our first view from the Summit. Remember that whole story about hiking for 4 days and really realy wanting to see Machu Picchu from above.....

....BUT, Have faith and the clouds may just part at thel last second like they did for us.

Our very bad attempt at one of those 4 click panoramic shots. Separated into three areas - agricultural, urban, and religious - the structures are arranged so that the function of the buildings matches the form of their surroundings. The agricultural terracing and aqueducts take advantage of the natural slopes; the lower areas contain buildings occupied by farmers and teachers, and the most important religious areas are located at the crest of the hill, overlooking the lush Urubamba Valley thousands of feet below.

Bri and I descending into the ruins. Archaeologists estimate that approximately 1200 people could have lived in the area, though many theorize it was most likely a retreat for Incan rulers. Due to it’s isolation from the rest of Peru, living in the area full time would require traveling great distances just to reach the nearest village.

We got a private tour with plenty of photo ops without hoards of people. After the tour ended we still had over an hour all to ourselves to wander around before the touristas arrived by the bus-load.  We spent the entire day there, had drinks before the train...and headed back to Cuzco by 9pm. What an amazing place to experience in person.

Back in Cuzco after our trek. We met our Inca Trail group out for drinks to say goodbye to some new and amazing friends.

You never realize the scale of all the ruins and buildings in there until you are in there. Its freakin huge
Machu Picchu The site still has running water. All the canals throughout the city still work. Civil Engneers should take study abroad classes here.
"Tina, you fat lard - come eat your dinner"! Resident "Yamas" that mow the grass daily and are just super cute.
I like to call this pose... "The Puma"
The slacker crew of the whole tour..... Tell you what, though, I bet we got the best picture ops out of every one in the zInca trail those 5 days. No people in our shots, because we were the last ones every day !
So if 12,ooo people lived here - did all the kids die playing hide-and-go-seek around here? Thats it - thats what killed off the Incas.
Our group - Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Peru and the good ole USA. We had a super fun crew.



Back in Cuzco after our trek. We met our Inca Trail group out for drinks to say goodbye to some new and amazing friends. The partying got a little out of hand - and no one got to bed until 9am the following day. When you have 2 Spaniards chatting up the locals - you learn where to go. 



Headed out to meet the Trek group.... We were all super tired, so We planned on meeting out for a "few beers" and some food. Meanwhile, back at the Hostel.... we enter at 8am the next morning. hahaha
Bri and Alex (Spain) and Sean (New Zealand) - just before it got a little wild. If you go to peru, make sure you have a Spoaniard in your group, he got great insider info on where the locals go out... and great deals.
Hmmmmmmm...... hey, its none of your business Peru!
Ok, we got a little banged up -
I'll just have 1 Thank you. Bloody hell. No wonder I chunked out on that trip!

We spent our last day in Cuzco hanging out with Sean and Princess Fleur from New Zealand...having drinks all day and playing Pictionary in our favorite cafe. We all made a bet together. Whoever goes first, the other couple has to start the dreaded conga line at the other's wedding. 

We are leaving tomorrow for the Amazon. (Dec 20th) Change it up a little. We had to abandon our ambitious plans of entering as the first ever tour into the virgin jungle offered to us before the hike. The weather is a little moody there right now and they couldn't guarantee us 6 days. Planes maybe couldn't fly out and we'd have to take the slow boat to China to some way off-town even further out and who knows when we would have gotten back. Sorry, not that adventurous this time. We have a beach to hit soon that nothing can keep us from after that hike!

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