Machu Picchu

On Monday, I arrived back in Belgium after a long flight home via Madrid. After my successful climb of Alpamayo, I stayed another week in Peru to indulge myself in the Inca culture.

On Sunday, 4th September I travelled from Lima to Cuzco in south Peru. 500 years ago, Cuzco was the capital of the Inca empire that stretched from Santiago in Chile al the way to Quito in Ecuador. A few years after Francisco Pizarro and his brothers conquered the Inca empire, a bloody battle took place in Cuzco in which thousands of Inca’s died.

From Cuzco I departed on the 5th September for a 4-day hike to Machu Picchu passing by Salkantay, the 2nd highest mountain of the region. As happens often, the hiking team had a very international character: 1 Canadian, 1 American, 1 Ecuadorian, 2 Uruguyans, 2 Brazilians, 2 Spanish, 1 German, 1 Frenchman, 2 Dutch and 6 Belgians.

The first 2 days we walked mainly through a mountainous area as we climbed over small mountain trails from 3300 meters to the Salkantay pass at 4800 meter. From there on we descended again to Agua Calientes through cloud forest. The diversity in nature and environment makes this a very popular hike.

Along the way we enjoyed a soccer game between Ecuador and Peru, took a dive in hot pools and had a party with some other hiking teams.

The last day we walked 11 km next to a railroad to arrive in Agua Calientes. This is a small town that is used as a base to explore Machu Picchu.

On Friday, the visit to Machu Picchu itself was on the agenda. First we climbed 1700 steps to the gate of Machu Picchu. Then our guide took us on a tour of the Machu Picchu ruins to enjoy the architectural highlights of the Inca culture. After touring the site, we decided to climb Machu Picchu (the mountain next to the site after which the ruins were named). So we climbed another 600 meters higher but were rewarded with magnificent views of the ruins and the surroundings. If you haven’t visited Machu Picchu yet, I can highly recommend it !

As of Saturday, I started the journey back from Cuzco to Belgium via Lima and Madrid. After 3,5 weeks, I landed again on Belgium soil on Monday evening. As of now, I can start planning my next adventure.