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South America 2016: Day 06 (Peru 06): Nov 27

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Woke up at 5:30, clouds cleared, beautiful. Today is the “easy” day. After some breakfast (jello!) and snacks, we head out and up around 7.

We were introduced and we introduced ourselves to the porters. They ranged from 20 years old to 47, several of them from Lares. While the majority of us are around 30 years old. Big group photo.

Pass through some tunnels and along mountain cliffs and some steep downhill steps. Got foggy that covered the views sometimes. Finally getting to the summit after 2 hours, with a nice view of the ruins below. It took about 15 minutes to reach them after a small break and then we were told about the Sacred river, the Milky way, the sacred animals, and more about how knowledge was passed from city to city, from watchtower to farmers, through the runners. The ruins was possibly a watch tower and had a tower in the middle for science. From here we could see our next destination of terraces. 

Another two hours or so to actually reach the next ruins of terraces with an amazing view of the river and mountain valley. Perfect for jumping shots. Super dangerous. 

After that, we walked down to the ruins, apparently the long way around while our guides were already sitting down at our destination. It is time for Llama selfies! This group of llamas were very docile and friendly. I squatted down beside one and rubbed it’s neck and it slowly pushed me down and laid its neck along my body. Haha. I’m stuck! Ahhh. Lots of fun.

About half an hour more to our campsite, cool layout but not a very nice view. Oh well. Lunch, we had the choice to have a cold shower……. Nope. The last ruins before machu picchu, literally 5-10 minutes from our tents. More terraces, that could’ve been a hospital. The dream was to convert all of the mountain sides to terraces but it was never fully realized because of the difficulty and the conquerors. Looked pretty cool in some renderings. And there are possibly more of these terraces still undiscovered under the dense vegetation. José also spoke about the last Incas and the civil war between brothers that weakened the ketchua nation that allowed for conquistadors to come in and take over and murder. An interesting history. Their culture damaged forever. 

As he was talking, it started to rain hard. We stayed a while longer then headed back for a siesta in our tents before dinner at 6.

Dinner, as always, was amazing. Chicken, pizza, stuffed peppers, rice, even a cake! We then had a small ceremony where we showed our gratitude to our porters and chefs with tips. We had originally planned on giving 105 to the porters but their work and service was so impressive we went with the recommended 180 soles per person. It’s scary to think about how much they carry, how fast they run through the trek, and the dangerous lives they live.

3am wake up for a 3:15 departure to wait at the checkpoint that opens at 5:30 to get to the sungate as one of the first groups. Sleep! 

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