**Still having problems with the cloud, unfortunately I am now on a beach and am likely too sunburnt too look for a ladder…
It is definitely easier to wake up when you are really excited to see something. This was definitely the case on the morning of Machu Picchu, even Becca got out of bed without extra motivation. We were walking to the gates of Machu Picchu just after 4am and were passed by a couple keen groups who were very excited to stand in line. Turns out the gate doesn’t open until 5am but by the time rolled around there was a very long line to enter the park. Nothing though could have prepared us for the stairs that lead to Machu. Over 800m of elevation gain and all you use are stairs… let me break it down for you… it is A LOT. All you can do is put your head down and rock the ancient stair climber, boy what a workout! Our guide said it would take around 1 hour to get to the top and we did it in around about 45 minutes, I guess the 4 days leading up to this mountain were pretty helpful!
Unfortunately by the time we got to the gates to enter the actual Machu Picchu site (which only opens at 6am so we had to wait for a bit) a couple tourist buses had made the journey, so those cheaters were in line before us! Turns out though that the ruins of Machu Picchu are so big that the you barely see the first couple hundred of people as everyone disperses through the ruins. Our guide took us on a pretty comprehensive hour and a half tour of the site where he showed us a lot of the highlights.
Those Incas really knew their stuff about architecture and stone masonry. The blocks were perfectly slotted together and most of the 3000 stairs throughout Machu itself were sculpted out of the mountain itself. There were about 10 separate locations where sacrifices could have taken place, in case people started getting bored. There was also a sundial that could tell the time pretty well I’ve been told however I could not see where the digital numbers showed up so I was clueless. I could go on and on about all the cool stuff that had been created in Machu Picchu but I’ll save that for when YOU go and climb hundreds of stairs to look at an impressively created city.
Eventually Becca and I were getting hungry and food was at the bottom of a million steps (yah the number went up from the last paragraph), so we started the trek down. Due to our broken knees and bodies it took us as long to get down the stairs as it did to get up. We basically crawled into the burger restaurant with the best deal we had seen the day before and sat down to enjoy some burgers and a cold Inca Cola (our favourite Peruvian soda). We had gotten to Machu so early that we were eating lunch at 10:30 after spending 3 hours walking among the ruins. Our train to Cusco was not until 6:30 so we found a cool cafe and enjoyed some coffee and beer while people from our group came to join us and we all watch a couple soccer matches and waited for the train. After 5 days, over 70km of hiking and probably a billion stairs we had completed the Salkantay.