What an amazing day!!!! Roger and I woke up at 4am to start the hike up the mountain that houses Machu Picchu. We set off by the light of the moon and took in the beautiful view of the mountains and fog in the morning that no camera could ever capture. It was not long before we were shedding layers and dripping sweat from the stairs. I quickly busted out the headlamp so we wouldn't bust ourselves. When we got to the entrance of Machu Pichu there was quite a line and fortunately we figured out where the line was to get the stamp to go up Huayna Picchu. We were one of the last ones to get the stamp. We wanted to go up at 10am but we were too late for the 10am group so we went up with the 7am group. It was all good though because it was worth it.
So everyone thinks Machu Picchu is amazing, of course, but if you ever get the chance to go up Huayna Picchu, I highly recommend it! It is absolutely amazing and the ruins are even more impressive up there. The climb up is absolutely insane! There are parts where there are cables that you can grab onto so you don't fall off the side of the mountain. We found an amazing spot where we felt like we were in a dream world. The clouds surrounded us and you could barely see a couple hundred feet in front of you. There was no way we could see Machu Picchu at that point but it didn't matter. We felt the energy and it was amazing. Roger had brought a picture of Leah, our cousin who died in a car accident in 1997, and he gave it a kiss and left it in a spot up there where no one would disturb it and where Leah would be more than happy to be, I am sure. It surprised me but touched me greatly. It was a good moment for the both of us. We hiked all the way to the top and we had a window of opportunity to get pictures of Machu Picchu for about 5 minutes before the clouds covered it up again. This is a picture of what I got. Not bad!
On our way down we headed toward the cave and the temple of the moon which extended our Huayna Picchu visit to 3 hours. It was totally worth it. Not that many people went down that way so we had a lot of hiking time completely by ourselves. There are so many people at Machu Picchu that having time alone to just take things in is something that is not taken for granted. The hike kicked our asses though. I was beat by the time we got back to Machu Picchu so I decided to take a nap. I got kicked off of where I was originally napping though because I was on a wall that wasn't to be disturbed. Oops! I quickly moved to a grassy area and propped myself on my bag while Roger went off exploring the ruins. It was great and while we didn't have a guided tour, we got all we wanted out it. Having a maps probably would've been a good idea, but even without it, we did just fine. This picture is from our way back down to Machu Picchu. We decided to take a break at one point where we had a beautiful view of Machu Picchu and the mountains surrounding us. Roger was taking it all in.
Around 2:30pm we made our way down the moutain back to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Town. By the time we got back we were spent and hungry. We didn't plan very well with out money but we figured it out to the last sol we had and made it count. We had to make a stop at the hot springs. That was a must. It was a great way to relax our aching muscles and get to know some cool people like the family from Valencia Spain. The dad was Spanish, the mother was Indian and the children were gorgeous! "You are the future", Roger commented about the mixture of cultures and languages. Both of the kids (well, they were adults) spoke 5 languages. Crazy! Both of them work in Brazil and the entire family meets up every year in a different country. What a cool idea if you have the money for it!
After the hot springs we headed back to the plaza and waited for our train that was at 9:30pm. We got back safe and sound to Cusco around 1am and both of us passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillow. We had to have climbed at least a couple thousand feet throughout the day and it was 10 hours of walking around more or less. Good training for Choquequirao!
I have been having the best time with Roger. We laughed so hard together the night before Machu Picchu. We were just chillin in the hotel room and acting goofy. It's so great when you can just hang out with someone and throw cheeze-its in each other's mouths for fun! :) Seriously though, I couldn't be happier to have such an amazing and intelligent brother. I am super proud.
Tomorrow we head out to Choquequirao. We went shopping for food today and we are about to go over to Elias' place to make sure we have everything order for the trip! I am super excited to go backpacking again, however it won't be the typical backpacking since we will have mules to carry most of our stuff which is awesome. I can't wait. I am just glad we were able to work out exchanging money today. There were three 20 dollar bills that Roger had that no one would accept because they were ripped. Finally, one of the guys outside the casas de cambio accepted them but with a charge of about 20 soles extra because of the rips. Bullshit if you ask me. Ripped bills are used all the time in the states, but then again, they are the States' money and money in Peru is no joke. They won't take any bill the looks old or ripped at all. The banks won't take them apparently. Oh well, it's all good and we are good to go.
More Incan ruins to come! Pictures will be posted when I get back!