Every time I sit down to write one of these (which, if we’re being honest, isn’t as often as it should be) my first instinct is always to start with a derivation of “a lot’s happened since my last entry.” Because usually, it has. This, I have come to realise, is something I should be extremely thankful for. I remember a time not too long ago where I could go for literally weeks with very little happening at all. A date maybe. A particularly anticipated film release. An especially piquant bout of flatulence. Still, it’s not a very exciting opening gambit is it? A stream of posts with exactly the same, slightly gloating commencement? It’s hard, let me tell you, to resist the urge. But I do. For you.
A lot’s happened since my last entry. A lot a lot. Like, loads. Heaps. Almost, but not quite, too much to go into. Where to start though? Isn’t that, as discussed, the eternal question?
Let’s cut to the chase and start with the biggy: Machu Picchu. 8 years I’ve waited to get to this mysterious city in the clouds; 8 long, boring years. Literally nothing of interest happened to me between my visit to Ankor Wat and the day I set eyes upon the graceful Wahyna Picchu emerging from a blanket of mist shadowing the rows of terracing and ancient lodgings before it. Actually, there was that one time I found a tenner outside the Woolwich Somerfields. That was quite exciting.
It, of course, lived up to and exceeded all my lofty expectations, not insignificantly because I had to work my arse off to get there. Yes, I was lucky enough to find myself on the Inca Trail, the proper Inca Trail that I’d been reliably informed would cost upwards of $600 and require a pre-booking period of around 6 months. Balderdash, as it turns out. I paid a little over half that amount and booked three days in advance. I was lucky yes, but several other folks found themselves in exactly the same position as myself. So it was that we set out for 4 days of hiking along the ancient roadways of the Incas themselves. With a frisbee.*
The walk itself was fantastic. Not as hard as I’d been promised, probably thanks to a little cheating on my part regarding loads carried, and it culminated in a final full day of 4 Incan ruins that gradually increased in spectacle until we reached the last which rivalled the Picchu itself in terms of impressive vistas and general llama population. There were river valleys, there were clouds drifting gently by below us, there were funny little houses. There were also tourists, lots of tourists. Apparently the route itself is limited to 500 persons a day, including guides and porters, but it seemed to me that every white person south of the Galapagos was scrambling over the ruins that day. All this is low season too.
The final day saw us making the descent to the city itself from the fabled Sun Gate. We were awoken at 3am sharp and, in the midst of pouring rain and perpetual yawns, begrudgingly made our way to the entrance of the national park. The Sun Gate was reached after a rather unpleasant hour long downhill trudge but knowing the views it offered were unrivalled our hearts remained aloft and our banter as witty as a particularly witty Fox in Witfordshire. The final section, affectionately referred to as “The Gringo Killer” was thoroughly trounced by all and one of the world’s most impressive wonders lay only seconds before us…
Yes. Not much needs to be said here really. Look at that face. Just look at it. All hope drained, all optimism crushed, all gayety vanished. Looking around, pretty much everyone there was sporting a similar expression, though most with a lack of beloved corporate mascot accompaniment.
Of course my massive disappointment was for nought. Soon after we arrived at the city herself the clouds parted and the mountains appeared. I’ll let the pictures do the talking from here on in. Lazy.
Anyway, it was a fantastic experience all in all. I’m pretty sure I’ve buggered my left knee from basically running the whole of the second day to prove a point and I’m now filled with a sort of ambition-void in terms of World Wonders, but Machu Picchu has well and truly secured its place as one of my proudest life achievements. Go me.
Tune of the whenever: Gomez, See the World. Because I am doing you see. Clever that.
*I nicked a colleague’s frisbee on my last day of work and have since snapped pics of it in front of the Empire State building, the White House, Sear’s Tower, the Apollo 11 lander, the Wright Brother’s original flyer, a baseball game, Bogota and now Machu Picchu. It is a well travelled frisbee.