PERU. First of all, I am very sorry. My apologies for my trustful followers (which are the 6 most legendary persons on this blogging adventure. You know who you are).
Anyway, sorry for let you wait so long on this closing chapter of book 2. I was travelling (yet again, life sucks hehe) with my family, and my internship over here kept me busy. Even though I chose Peru to visit my university friends, who were on exchange in Lima, I also had a plan of visiting the famous, world-known, one of the world wonders Machu Picchu.
It’s kind of weird. I never had any ’emotional relationship’ to Peru. Whereas I had with Argentina and Chile because of my friends. So here I went, without any idea how Peru would be.
I arrived and immediately when I was in the airport shuttle to my hostel, I was sucked into reality: welcome back to cold weather and a city with 10+ million inhabitants. ”Oh yeah…. I am almost home.” Anyway, it was time to meet some friends!
It was good to see them and hear their story on living in Peru. But anyway, off to Cusco. Because I mean, if you go to Peru, you have to go to Cusco!
Cusco is the homebase of activities. Most of these activities are going to Machu Pichu, that famous Inca city on a mountain. And as touristy as I am, I have done the same. I did not visit Machu Picchu with my ultimate, lazy-ass touristic side (going by bus up to the mountain and then complain to walk 40 steps towards the actual site of Machu Picchu). Nahhhh, Vincent goes hardcore. As learned in New Zealand, hardcore-hiking is the best hiking and will result in the best experience!
A 5-day walking trip was the planning. This ‘Salkantay Trek’ is 75kms long. When I arrived in Cusco, the whole square was occupied as Peru played a match for the Copa de America.
Day 1 of the Salkantay Trek: Waking up at 5AM, to be on the way at 5.30. This was a rather warming up day as we ‘only’ walked around 5-6 hours. I got to know the group better. Part of the group was a Dutch couple, who travelled the world. They started in April in Patagonia and they worked their way up to the north. Somewhere in September, we met up as they reached Bogotá! How short but intensive times with people can create such bonding! Photos of day 1:
Day 2: This was the ‘hardest’ one (according to the stories). Yes it was hard, as we had to walk to 4600 meters to the Salkantay pass. It’s cool to see and actually realized how oxygen gets scares the higher you get. Of course, the higher you get, the less oxygen available is a fact, but actually realizing and feeling that is another thing. The view was amazing. I remember that there was a guy proposing to his girlfriend. Pretty special place to be. More special and sacred are the stories told by our guide (shoot, I forgot his name. It was something like Somano). Entonces, digamos que se llama Somano. Somano is a real Inca, as many guides we passed on the way are. Might sounds cliché, but he is a guy I will never forget. You saw and felt the passion he had for teaching and guiding those everywhere-to-find tourists. When we asked how many days a week he works, he answered something in the trend of: I only have around 2 weeks a year holiday, the other 52, I am working. Even the weekend, Somano? ”Yes, even the weekends”, he answered. WOW, a passionate hero. We don’t see many of them, at least, I don’t. May that be the reason I have glasses. Photos of day 2:
Day 3: This was the actually ‘killing’ day. We had a long and intensive day of walking on day 2, which made day 3, even though not that hard, quite ‘killing’. However, we have looked forward for this day. Two reasons for that: avocado and hot springs. After 2.5 days of hiking, eating the freshest avocado on the world (as it felt like that in the moment), with salt from the Uyuni salt lake was like a little birthday. After conquered a mountain (all the way up and down), we were picked up by a bus who dropped us off at our hostel. That night, although we drank some booze, we found our beds quite early: tomorrow we have to leave early (basically every morning hahaha). Photos of day 3:
Day 4: Another day to look forward to! Because tomorrow we will make it to Machu Pichu. Today we came from nowhere in nature to the busy base from where tourists go by train to Machu Picchu. That was quite a shock. After 3 days being isolated from human kind, going to a place with too many people and too many people offering you foods and drinks. Anyway, from the beginning of the tracks we had to walk another 3.5 hours next to the train rails to Aguas Calientes. This place basically consists of hotels for tourists. What was good though, is that we actually slept in a normal bed again. After like 70kms of hiking, long days, short nights, descending and ascending mountains, lack of oxygen, the strong sun; that was DEFINITELY heaven, like 3 orgasms in a row. Yeah, that spectacular kind of feeling. Photos of day 4:
Day 5: this is why we did it: Machu Picchu! With the lack of sleep and waking up at 4AM to stand in line to walk up at 5AM, in order to arrive at 6AM the park; it all costed a lot of energy. That also affected our mood: we were quite grumpy. Which at the end of the day was quite funny. There were so many tourists going up by bus, that when we arrived on foot, a line in front of the gate was already formed. We mingled in the crowd and as group we went up, up the stairs again. Here, we heard the tourists complaining about the stairs and how far it still was. Well, after 75km of walking, shorts nights and all that, imagine how annoyed and sort of angry you feel when you hear those tourist complain who have arrived here by train and went up by bus and are now complaining about some stairs. Wejoo.
Machu Picchu is a magical place. The fact that it could be build on such an attitude and the mystery around it that nobody really knows why people left Machu Picchi makes it magical. I cannot describe it in different words, maybe the pictures do:
So, that was Peru. A country with no emotional attachment whatsoever. But now, ready to go back and do more Inca related hikes! It’s so incredible how much rich history a country like Peru has.
I arrived on the 16th of July at El Dorado airport, where Kata was waiting for me… :)