Out of all my travels around the world, there are three places that have definitely left a mark on me, Peru is one of them.
I went two years ago, and if you go to Peru, of course you have to go to see the Machu Picchu. It doesn’t matter if you do it the difficult way and hike and camp for four days, or the easy way by train and bus, you have to go! I opted for the middle option, a 2 day 1 night hike for 15 km as I wanted to challenge myself a little and make it more memorable.
My hike started from Ollaytaytambo where we had been staying for a few days since we arrived at Peru. I figured it was better that way so I could get used to the altitude first. Our guide picked us up at around 6am in the morning to the station for a short train ride to the starting point of our hike.
There are separate train carriages for tourists and the locals like our guide and porters, so our guide told us to look out for a sign that says KM 104 by the side of the track and get off when the train stops. Here is the ‘station’, and the beginning of our trek to Macchu Picchu. The time is 7.30 in the morning.
By now our guide and us had been trekking for an hour. Our starting point was down by the river behind the mountain on the left. Although it was October it was still quite cool, and by the time we’ve ascended up here we were so hot that we’d removed all our outer gear.
這個時候導遊和我們已經走了一個多小時。 而我們的起點是在照片中左邊那座山背後的河邊。 當時是10月底，還有點涼意，但我們走到這一個高度時已覺得很熱，需要把外衣脫下。
It’s actually quite high up here, I guess around 2500m ASL and you can get an idea of how high we are from the clouds and the pylon on the right further down. The path that we’re walking along doesn’t look too bad and is quite wide, but if you look down it can be quite scary!
Our destination for lunch is a bit further on at Winay Wayna. This is the grey blob of concrete you see in the blue circle in the photo above. Winya Wayna means ‘forever young’ in Quechua, the indigenous language spoken by the people living in the Andes.
午餐地點是對面山 Winay Wayna附近，就是上面相片中藍色圈圈內灰色的地方。 Winya Wayna 在安第斯土語是’永遠青春’的意思。
Here is a full view of Winya Wayna. You can’t really seen how impressive it is from this photo as its difficult to put it into perspective with anything, but one thing for sure its high up in the mountains amongst the clouds. The other thing is, the fact its built in the middle of nowhere and how they built it on such a steep slope is in itself a massive achievement and mystery.
從這照片可以看到整個 Winya Wayna，但因為沒有對比較難看到它是如何真正的宏觀。唯一可以肯定是它位置很高，幾百年前如何在荒山野嶺建一座如此壯觀的社區，真是令人摸不著頭腦。
After a bit more climbing, we finally arrive at Winya Wayna forty minutes later.
This site is an Inca site at 2650 ASL and dates back to the 15th century. As I enter the site, I see these massive terraces in front of me. The guy in the photo is our guide so that gives you some idea of how big the site is.
Winya Wanya是印加帝國的遺址，在海拔2650米高，15世紀建成。到達 Winya Wayna 迎接我們的是這一層層高聳的梯級。站在照片中的男子是我們的導遊，雖然他個子較小，但仍然可以感受到遺址是如何宏偉。
On the left hand side of these terraces is a staircase to get to the top. As we were climbing up we came across these llamas who stood in our way, and had no intention to budge at all. This is the first time I’ve seen llamas, they were so cute and perfectly harmless.
It turns out they had some business to get to first, and once they were done they finally stepped aside and let us pass.
Here’s a full view of the site, I think it’s just absolutely stunning. It’s a pity that you will miss this if you catch the train and bus. How they managed to build these structures and on this scale 600 years ago so high up in the mountains is just beyond me.
In this photo you can see the river on the left hand side, that gives you an idea of how far we’ve ascended within 5 hours.
About 15 minutes walk further on is our lunch stop. This is a camp site for people on their 3rd night of the 4 day trek so there is a bit more facilities. There’s even a basic kitchen here for the porters to cook for their clients.
By the time we got to the site, our lunch was ready waiting for us.
There were two types of fresh salad, steamed vegetables, fried chicken and rice. Although this may look simple, it was really tasty especially the salad. But what impressed me most was the effort it took to cook this meal.
Not many people do the two day trek like us, but as a minimum each group must have a guide and a certain number of porters, three in our case for the two of us. Here are our porters.
The first time we saw them was at lunch time. They caught the same train as us in the morning but I never saw them takeover us, yet they arrived at our lunch stop before us. Our guide told us they trek another route which is more difficult but faster. The main point is, they have to carry everything needed for our 2 day trek including all the food and fresh water, the cooking utensils, stove and a can of gas, the tents (our sleeping one and the big one where we had lunch) and sleeping bag etc for the 6 of us. I thought my trek was difficult, but it’s nothing compared to these guys. They are real heroes.
And here’s our guide who accompanied us on both days. Although his is quite small, he is really strong and nifty, not to mention really funny and kept our spirits up during the trek.
Next time, I will share with you the remaining part of my trek to Machu Picchu. Please stay tuned.