We finally earned a sleep in. We were woken up at 630am by the porters with our coca tea and basin of hot water, breakfast at 700am and departure at 800am. Yes, I just classified 630am as a sleep in. I'm also going to miss being woken up with a cup of hot coca tea at my door.
After breakfast the porters all introduced themselves telling us their name, age and which village they are from. We then introduced ourselves and we took a team photo. The two guides are missing from the photo because they were the photographers. I wish we had a photo of all 12 hikers, 2 guides, 2 cooks and 12 porters. 28 people in total.
Lizandro, our guide, has become quite adept at predicting times. In our briefing this morning he said it would take about an hour to 1 and 1/2 hours to hike from our campsite to our first break at Phuyupatamarca. The 1 hour was for the rest of the group. The 1 and 1/2 hours for Michelle and I!
This morning was a gentle climb, nothing compared to the last two days. We stopped in the Inca Tunnel to take a photo or two. And Nestor continued to distract us with information. Did you know:
- Peru has over 3000 different types of potatoes?
- That Lupins are a good source of protein?
- There are 117 life zones in the world, Peru has 84 of them
We reached our first break site not that far behind the main group. The advantage of walking so slowly yesterday is today are legs are amazingly not tired. I was expecting my dodgy knee and ankle to ache more than a little. But no, they are all good. I was also expecting my thigh, quad, calf and butt muscles to all be sore, and screaming for attention today. However all is good. Anyway... our first stop was Phuyupatamarca, La Cuidad Entra La Niebla, City in the Clouds. Can you see why?
We spent a good 30 minutes here with Lizandro telling us about the site, the baths, the spring water, the chakana (cross), and how if you look closely you can see a face in the mountain side! Or maybe we'll see the face better after a few beers.
Then we were off again, mainly down hill. We had about a 2 hour hike ahead of us to reach our next rest stop. This time round Michelle and I, and Nestor of course, were still at the back of the pack but at least we pretty much always had the rest of the group in sight. And sometimes one or two of them where actually behind us. We spent our two hours hiking learning more from Nestor. On day 1 of this hike we thought he was very quiet and not very talkative. But by day 3 we changed our minds. He is very soft spoken but he's full of information - a walking encyclopedia, and he's also very funny. He tried to tell us that llamas got their name because... when the Spanish came to Peru they asked the local people for the name of the animal by saying Como se llama? What's its name? The locals didn't understand and kept repeating llama, llama? So the Spanish thought the animals name is llama. Nice try Nestor.
We arrived at our last stop before camp right on schedule. Intipata - Place of the Sun or Sun Terraces.
There is terrace after terrace after terrace. There aren't really any other buildings, no plaza, no temple, no forts, just terraces.
We spent about 45 minutes here just soaking up the view, we could see the back side of Mount Machu Picchu from here.
It took just another 20 minutes or so to reach our campsite for the night. Yep we were in camp by 1:30pm. We were done hiking for the day. 4 hours? That's it. We sat down for a fancy lunch, complete with veggie figurines.
After lunch we weren't sure what to do. Normally we'd load up and begin hiking again. Not today. Some people showered, Michelle and I took a nap. A long and glorious nap.
Part 2 coming soon.