Peru. Cusco. 4:00 am. Plaza de Armas. Lenin is already there… No, no he hasn’t risen from dead. Lenin is a name of our guide. We go to Mollepata, where we eat our breakfast.
After breakfast we are driving a narrow way up the hill. At some point we have been blocked by another car, so we have to wait another 30 mins, before we go. We’re not in a rush, obviously… This is America… At last we get off. Our backpacks, tents and canteen go on the horses, we start trekking.
At about 13:00pm we had a stop for lunc Food was delicious! What a nice change after visit on Titicaca! Suddenly the weather made a change for the worse (the rainy season hasn’t come to the end yet). It wasn’t raining long, but heavily enough to make my trousers and shoes get soaking wet.
On the way we had a strange conversation with some people, who didn’t want to let us in to the park. I don’t know, who was right, Lenin or they… It took them a while, but eventually we got in. Later everything was getting worse and worse, we walked higher and higher... without break, the air was getting increasingly thinner, it was hard to breath and got really sheer. On the last stage we walked in darkness. Lenin had a GPS and in the camp he showed us, it was 4475 metres above sea level.
When I woke up, there were waiting for me a beautiful view out of the tent and delicious, hot breakfast on our portable canteen. What more do I need?
After a while we reach the Salcantay pass, we are 4800 metres above sea level. We make an offering of coca leaves, and wine to the Pachamama and our cook personally says a prayer or maybe he just recites some cooking recipe in quechua language, we don’t understand what he says anyway. Despite of that we can still feel the solemnity of the atmosphere.
It's raining all day long, and there is sticky mud everywhere around! Lenin says, this is the first expedition on this route this year. Two weeks ago, there was other team here walking up, but they had to return, as it was impossible to go any further. You can see an old bridge down there. We walk on the new one. At last we arrive at the place called Collpapampa (2900 m) and pitch the camp.
It’s hard to describe, how sticky was the mud in places, even pictures can’t show it. We were passing smaller or bigger waterfalls or walking on subsided ground all the time. There was either mud, rocks or horse dung all the way on the road… It was almost impossible for us to enjoy the scenery, as we hardly could see anything through the fog and it was raining. Actually we had to take care of every step we took, to avoid a fall or a skid on the horse sh**.
We arrived in Playa (2250 m). In spanish playa means a beach. Plate with such a name looks really funny in this place. Main Road is a one big pond. In front of beautiful, clean mountains dirty kids run around… We eat our dinner, and then get on the bus going to the train station, to take a train to the place with a very thrilling name Hidro Electrica. The bus driver goes at breakneck speed on the very narrow road (perhaps at the request of Lenin). We arrive in the train station at the last moment, just in time! Willy Fog would have been proud of us!
We went by train to the town called Aguas Calientes, situated near Machu Picchu. On the way we saw the mountain peak called Waynapicchu, and the river called Urubamba. There was a dinner waiting for us in the town. The whole platform on the train station looks like a restaurant. I’m sure, there are more tourists than residents over here.