Probably the most famous Trek in South America, maybe even the world,
The Inca Trail combines the views of beautiful mountains, cloud-forests, and subtropical jungles, encounters with various ruins of the Inca Empire along the way, and the final destination - Machu Picchu, one of the most spectacular archaeological wonders of the worlds.
Crossing Rio Urubamba, the start of the trail. Photo by Phil Whitehouse
Many travel agencies in Cusco offer organized hikes along the trail, providing the equipment (such as tents) and people accompanying you to carry it. The trek can last from 2 to 7 days, depending on the route you choose, and is suitable for almost all ages – as long as you are fit enough…
In 2001 the Peruvian government instituted a quota system on how many travelers can be on the trail on any given day. You must book with a tour operator in advance when you wish to walk the trail, as it is not allowed to organize your own trip. The tour organizers must register the traveler's passport numbers with the government, and they are strictly checked at control points on the trail.
"This park is part of the Australian Alps, and in it you’ll find the highest mountain in Australia – Mt. Kosciusko. All around there are mountains with snowy peaks, blue lakes – some frozen - alpine flora and running streams. From the top of the mountain we descended on the “lakes trail” that took us to Albina Lake, which was still mostly frozen. Walking above the height of the tree tops on the snowy peaks, we noticed flowers blossoming between the puddles, reminding us again and again of the Scandinavian part of our trip. We walked some more, passing Club Lake, and from there on a steep road down to the Blue Lake – the biggest of the five lakes on the peak, created by the glacier that was once there. On the puddles around the lake, skiers caught one last slide before the next winter".
From the village we took a horse trek for two days from The Tibetan horse trekking, with a lady who speaks perfect English, her name is Li-Ii. The trek passed through amazing Mongolian style plains. We slept in a nomad's tent and lived their everyday life for a single day. Interesting and worth every penny.
Some detail on Puerta del Sol area:
(2). Puerta del Sol, center of old Madrid, center of Spain,
the place at Madrid where people gathers to receive the new year,
the building with the clock tower is the regional government The neon commercials on the buildings are there for being consider 'historic', no new commercials are added to historic buildings for many years and some non historic were removed.
There is an small plate on the floor in front of the clock building, marking the 0 km for the radial network of roads in Spain.
In the other side of the square there's the statue of the symbol of Madrid - the bear and the tree - is the typical meeting point for many madrileños.
In the center - the statue of CarlosIII on a horse, considered the best major of Madrid. He took the dirtiest capital of Europe and renewed it greatly, finished royal palace, built most of gates and fountains you'll see, etc...
(3). The congress
(4). Metro station Sevilla
Dotted area known as huertas, one of the streets is called Huertas. Mostly pedestrian area. Quite animated area.
We had only 4 days left in Costa Rica, and we planned to spend 2 of them in Monteverde and 2 in Manuel Antonio national park, so we couldn’t stay in Rincon another night – but we did spent the morning, enjoying the calm atmosphere, singing of the birds, a good thriller novel and a relaxing rest on the hammock (quick lesson: never get up from a hammock without letting your partner laying beside you know – if you don’t want her to fall over, that is).
We headed to Monteverde early and for a change arrived early too, so for the first time we found a place to sleep while it was still light outside. After a quick walk around the pleasant town we ordered a night tour in the jungle the very evening. We headed out - a group of 6 people we a local guide – to a nearby rain forest where we were impressed by the thick flora, the bushes which grow on trees, the trees which grow on other trees and so on. We saw a few animals, and I was fascinated by something which look like a mega-firefly. Oh, and we learned some new things about the sex life of tarantulas….
The next day we did a Canopy in the cloud forest, which is a very cool omega line between the tree branches – some of them stretching for a couple of kilometers. There were about 20 people in our group, and Shahar and I were a lot younger than the others… after we were equipped with harnesses, we saw that some of the people had a double harness – one on the chest and one on the waist. I told Shahar that we were not as secured as the others, but then I realized that it was a double protection for the more heavy people among us…
We got a quick explanation on how to accelerate and how not to lose balance, and were told that the more cautious people can do the canopy with one of the guides. And in a minute we were on our way… The first canopy was slow and short, just to get the taste. The second one was fast, really fast, and when I tried to slow down near the end I realized there is no chance I will make it on time. The tree in front of me came closer and closer, but than I discovered something amazing – the canopy also has breaks!! I managed to stop at the last second, with a loud sound of a crash – but without the actual damage… before the last canopy we also did a Tarzan jump from a height of 5 meters. Well, I jumped in the past from 25 meters above a gushing river, and even from an airplane, but what can I tell you – it was still scary… the swinging part, on the other hand, was a lot of fun…
Shahar is Canopying through the trees...
And I'm right behind him
On the last canopy we noticed that the couple in front of us went down together, and so did another American couple who passed us on the way. We thought they were just a bit scared from the last and longest canopy, but when it was my turn our guide asked Shahar to join me. “you don’t want to get stuck out there with the winds blowing right now”, he explained, and so we did our last canopy together, a little romantic touch amidst the tree tops…
Shahar is swinging after jumping like a real Tarzan
Actual First Day:
We ate breakfast and left Namshan through a local tea workshop.
People saying goobye :)
We continued walking according to the original plan.
A lot of kids everywhere welcomed us with the local hello - "Migalaba!!"
Around noon we arrived to a lonely house in the middle of nowhere, and some kids saw us from the window and started to shout "Mingalaba". Their father heard the noise and invited us to inside to drink some tea. The house was completely made of wood. It was almost empty, and you could see the family was really poor. We gave them some avocados we had and they taught us some local words.
After the short visit we headed south, walking in a very green area, going down the hill and bypassing a relatively big village.
We continued to the next small town, but it there were almost nobody there... We thought it's completely deserted, But than we discovered the real reason: There was a big wedding inside one of the houses.
The men were sitting on one side, smoking and talking, and the women on the other side. There was a local orchestra playing outside. They were extremely welcoming, and invited us to join the party. The most surprising thing was that they were even more excited than we were to host us in their celebrations.
The ladies on one side of the local wedding
The men on the other side (of course, me, on both sides..)
They served us special dishes and once again demonstrated the Burmese kindness I mentioned before. It was a real uplifting experience.
We had a chance to talk with the locals about the area. One of them even invited us to stay in his small village with his family for the night. Since we had our plans we declined the offer, but he really insisted so we decided to be spontaneous and make a change of plans. We gave the young groom and bride a nice present and continued our journey with our new friend, who didn't speak English (we relied a lot on hand gestures and signs).
Our new friend
Due to a lack of time we didn’t do much trekking in the area, but there are a lot of interesting trails not far from the city. Another recommended activity is driving on Mineral Creek road, but you need a 4X4 car – and we didn’t have one…
Hell's Gate Canyon (English name) - We went on a 30 Km trek from Hells Gate Canyon to Rimouski River. The trail runs in the deep a narrow canyon, formed from the power and velocity of the water. The trail passes by beautiful waterfalls, and we found it more impressive than Canyon Sainte Anne.