Day four was our earliest start yet, I don’t know what time it was and I don’t remember drinking my coffee. I know there must have been coffee because something got me out of my sleeping bag. It could have just been two yellow Chaskis shaking me out of it and leaning me against a tree though. But then that doesn’t explain how I got out of my pajamas. Getting to Machu Pichu as early as possible is the aim on day four. In order to achieve this we all had to be at the passport control for the moment it opened. Obviously all 500 people on the trail are doing the same thing so there were some 180 gringos in a queue, in the dark, waiting to begin.
I think I fell asleep again at some point because the next thing I knew we were off. Our final Inca trail passport stamps obtained and we were accelerating along the path. It was only a short walk that day but very crowded due to all the groups leaving at the same time.
The sign that we were almost there was a set of steps ascending almost as steeply as a wall in front of us. These were the steps to the Sun Gate, where we would finally stand and look down upon the Inca city of Machu Pichu.
Obviously we weren’t disappointed. The view from the Sun Gate is spectacular and you can see the whole of the complex laid out before you.
We just had to hike another couple of kilometres and we were down in the city itself for the famous tourist photograph!
Big smiles on our faces our bodies finally began to let us know exactly how upset they were with the last 4 days. At this point you have to leave Machu Pichu by the main gate so that you can officially arrive by coming in again. I was fine with this as once again we got a passport stamp, the fifth and final one!
We officially entered Machu Pichu and began to explore the city. Manny really came into his own here and gave us a great explanation of the city, individual buildings and explanations of Inca life.
After this we were free to explore until we would meet up again for lunch in Aguas Calientes, the town below. Obviously we had a great time, but pictures describe it far better than I can.
After exhausting the last of our strength we took the bus down to Aguas Calientes. You can walk up or down this part, but since the path follows the road, we’d suggest the bus.
When we reached the town the only things on our minds were food and a celebratory drink, or six. Pizza and Pisco were consumed in slightly excessive quantities and everyone settled back content.
We had a few hours to kill before our train left so we decided to check out the hot springs for which Aguas Calientes is named. Whilst they were hot and helped our muscles, we felt less clean than when we got in and that’s after not showering for four days. Hot yes, hygienic, no.
Our final expedition was the tourist train that would take us back along the valley to Ollantaytambo, where we’d had breakfast on day one. From here the bus took us back to Cusco and dropped us in the main square at about 11pm. We struggled back to the hostel where they had thankfully already moved our bags out of storage into our room, little things like this feel so good when you’re tired.. A hot shower to rinse off the hot springs and our Inca Trail was done.