December 25th, 2007 – by: andycox_is_now_in
It rained all night and not keen to get up at 4 following 3 hours sleep although feeling surprisingly alive. Thankfully by the end of breakfast, the rain had stopped but the start of our walk as dawn approached pretty miserable. Trudged on for an hour before reaching the sun gate which unsurprisingly gave little view. However Xavier pushed us on down the hill and passed the other treks waiting for a glimpse of Macchu Pichu from the sun gate. Getting closer to the citadel did the trick and Xavier had done us proud walking below the clouds and giving us our 1st impressive views of Macchu Pichu. Everyone trigger happy on the cameras and France (Canadian) in tears having made it to Macchu Pichu, 12 years after being in a car crash and being told she wouldn´t walk again.
Continued on ahead of the masses to next viewing spot and even better views with the Waynu Pichu mountain behind the citadel and completing the image that has been seen in adverts so many times. Got our group photo taken having made it.
On entry to Macchu Pichu itself, we all got our passports stamped (image of the citadel and by far the best stamp to date) before starting a 2 hour tour of city. The pictures dont do the place justice and not quite able to comprehend the magnitude of building such a place 500 years ago so high in the mountains (especially when the Incas didn´t have wheel technology !). Xavier described the history to many of the buildings including the palace of the Incan emperor !! The farmers terracing even surpassed those of all the many ruins en route to Macchu Pichu which takes some doing.
After tour, Xavier gave us 4 hours to roam freely but encouraged us to climb the Waynu Pichu mountain for better views of the citadel. None of us too sure looking up at the steep ascent which is famously dangerous, especially when the last thing we wanted was more climbing, but having come this far, we had to do it. I let the others pace the climb and actually wasn´t too bad until close to the top where 6 inch wide steps with no railing brought a sharp feeling of vertigo. Scrambling bent over through dark caves followed before hitting the summit. Didn´t spend much time on the exposed rock face but got plenty of good views and photos from a little lower down.
After a special 7 hours in Machu Pichu and some final photos, we all got the bus back to Aguas Calientes which is a really pretty town in its own right before getting the 3 hour train back to Cusco.
I´m sure the train provided many great views also but I caught up on some much needed sleep. Arrived back in Cusco on a miserable evening and not in any mood to face the 24 hour challenge of partying until 4am after getting up for Macchui Pichu. However, felt obliged to the rest of the group and after a quick shower was back out and was great to see everyone else had made the effort as well. A night of Cuba Libres followed (rum and coke), with much dancing and frivolity made even better when Emily and Sapphire (Huacachina) turned up. Danced the night away and even got Mr Brightside played. Great night and we all made it to the 4am challenge. Best night out in ages and a really good send off for our group who had got on really well the whole time.
The 18 months wait was worth it !!