After a tiring and exhausting four days hiking around the Inca heartland, we woke up at the dusk of dawn and queued to get in to Machu Picchu. This Incan citadel, which is situated in the Andes, is just under 8000ft above sea level and around 550 years old in the heart of Peru near the old historic city of Cusco. The indigenous Kechuan communities still live around these majestic mountains and were on our trip to help with cooking, making tents and transporting gear. In the past this city in the mountains was home to a thriving Inca community who had to experience the Spanish conquistadors entering their land and the troubles this brought upon them. In modern times the Peruvians were able to find and preserve the site for all to experience.
Two guides Luigi and Eric led the tour. They were based in Cusco and had broad knowledge about the area and the history. Constant facts filled our heads about their ancestors, which made us in awe of these people. Luigi the protégé of Eric it seemed was to play constant practical jokes on us as we trekked up the treacherous inclines of the trail. This helped relieve us of our aching pains in our legs and for some of us the knees, which seemed to appear at the very beginning of the trek. These guides made sure the whole trip was fun and safe, they were good, very good.
Sunrise was approaching on the last day and we were excited as to what we were about to witness. Legs were destroyed but spirits were high and the hard work was about to pay off. But before we set off to the entrance we encountered one of our biggest challenges on this trip, a worldly of a poo left by a human who couldn’t leave the queue, surely British? The fear of leaving the queue, which had started around 2am, was too risky to leave so the path was the place to drop it. To some of our fellow trekker’s they were amazed, but us Brits, we understand the predicament. Leaving the queue would be unthinkable so the stiff upper lip came to the fore and we dealt with the situation.
Once the poo had been navigated, we trundled in through the gates to join the crowds of people who had arrived to catch a glimpse of Machu Picchu this early. This glorious place was as good as it looked in the photos and is on many a bucket list. The sheer vastness of the place, which is built around the steep mountains, was astonishing; I just couldn’t keep my eyes off it. The numerous days of arduous trekking, painstaking inclines and queuing with poos made the wait in the morning worth it. I can definitely say its worth ticking off the list, and Machu Picchu. I would compare it to the first time I saw Halong Bay in Vietnam when weaving through waters on a boat, totally stunning.
The day itself was clear blue skies and lovely mild weather, which enabled us to get the standard photo with Machu Picchu behind you in the background with the hoards of tourists, most unfortunate. A picture I thought couldn’t be topped was the group photo. This was the result of four days of hard work, hysterical joking and team bonding which will be unique to us. As we departed the platform, we approached the lush green grass of the hills around us to stare at the complex architecture of the Incas.
We settled down to listen to the guides about the history of the place and chomp on some Oreos to refuel. Then to my right Llamas were encroaching. Flapping to get my phone out I thought this was too good an opportunity to pass so I whacked the Oreos out of the packet and fed them to the Llamas. This was met by a surprisingly good reaction by the Llama who decided to eat it and stand still, in a flash (excuse the pun) I got my smart phone on selfie mode and snapped away. The Llama most probably bored of my company wondered off to find its own piece of land whilst in the mean time I flip through the many pictures. One caught my eye, as the Llama’s eye in this case was looking directly in to the lens of the camera, just perfect. A day where the norm would be to get a picture of a lifetime of Machu Picchu actually turned into a selfie storm between a Llama and me and as a consequence resulted in my preference of the said photo. This experience had everything from Machu Picchu, Llamas and human poo, what a day and what a place, tremendous.