Just after I posted the last blog, Sarah and I went to the tour desk at our hostel to confirm what time we were to depart for the inca trail hike. Much to our dismay, our reservation was nowhere to be found! We were told we couldn’t go on the Inca trail because they needed at least 48 hrs to get the permits processed. We didn’t want to take no for an answer, as the inca trail hike to Machu Picchu was the corner store of our Peru trip. We walked all over Cusco and asked a few of the hundreds of tour companies for other opinions. The clock was ticking, as at 6:30 we had only been told that we could take a jungle tour or wait a couple days for the inca trail hike. Neither sounded good, as we wanted a shradical hike and we booked our plane back to Lima for 1/24, so we needed to leave the following day for a four day tour. Defeated, we went back to our hostel your desk to beg and see if there were any last minute cancellations. At our darkest hour, they suggested the salkantay trail which was also 4 day 3 nights and we could leave the following day. We had never heard of this trail, but the debriefing was happening in a few minutes. An impending hiker informed us he read it was named one of the top most beautiful hikes in the world. We decided to go for it!With the crisis averted (hopefully) we had a nice celebratory birthday dinner for Sarah featuring both “Cuy” (pronounced “coo-wee” and known as Guinea pig in the US) and alpaca!
I have to admit, though I prefer to eat vegetarian, both were quite delectable. The alpaca was smothered in a delicious sauce and was a bit like a thin steak, but slightly chewier. The Guinea pig skin was rather tough on the outside with a fatty layer, which I did not love, but the meat tasted just like chicken. I give both two thumbs way up! And may never eat either ever again.
We awoke at 4 to meet our group for the Salkantay trail. The countries of Holland, Chile, Australia, England, Texas, Brazil, and California were represented among the 16 of us. Despite our different backgrounds we got along fabulously! And the hike itself was just spectacular. Pictures will do more than I ever could with words and still they don’t capture the grandeur that we experienced. This reinforced that there are many roads of beauty, and the planned one is not necessarily the only nor the best way.
The third day we continued through the jungle until we reached train tracks that led us to Aguas Calientes, the town that sits at the base of the entrance to Machu Picchu.
At 4 am today we hiked up to Machu Picchu and then spent the day exploring and hiking even higher up Machu Picchu mountain. We just couldn’t get enough stairs!!!
We celebrated our glorious as- and des-cents with a mango smoothie and salchipapa, which is a Peruvian dish of French fries with a hot dog on top, adorned with a fried egg and avocado and tomato. Oh yes, and coffee and Oreos and snickers and beer. I am utterly exhausted and look forward to sitting on a train and plane and bus tomorrow until we arrive in Huaraz on Monday morning.
The adventures continue…
Ps more pictures once I obtain a better internet conneccion!