Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Day 140

Wed 20th June

So we yesterday was pretty much a chill day. Hooked up with some of my trekkers in town, booked another tour, went for dinner and a few drinks.

The night lasted longer than one anticipated and heading to bed, the alarm was being set for 3 hours time – ouch!

It goes off like a war siren but up I must get. Another bucket list item on the cards today. Unfortunately, we missed all the shops so none of us have anything sugary to snack on for the 2 hour journey so doze away we do instead. Breakfast is a most welcome stop but not great – a raw pancake!

We’re on the bus for another hour and then we start….me, Jack, Ellie, Alex and Juliana about to embark on yet another hike.

This time to the rather impressive looking Rainbow Mountain or Vinicunca or Montaña de 7 Colores as it’s known locally.

The guys race on ahead but starting at 4500m and 700m to go, I know I need to take it steady. Our guide says it should take about 2 hours to get to the top. The landscape and scenery are again out of this world but I decide to concentrate on just getting to the top.

It’s a tough old slog and when a sign says I’m only at 4800 I wonder how I’ll make the next 400!

The last 200 is extremely hard going. Every 10 steps I need to stop and take a breather. It’s getting colder and colder and I have to stop to put a jacket on. The varying temperatures are crazy!

A week ago a lot of these tours were cancelled due to the mountains being covered in snow. Much has now melted but it does mean the path in places is quite difficult. Either ice víveres and slippery or deep sloshy mud and slippery!

Plough on, plough through and just take my time. I look up and realise there still a fair bit to go…seeing the people like lemmings following the oath above up to the top of the hill.

2 last steep climbs and I’m finally on the top. I turn around and am greeted by this amazing sight.

5200m asl – now officially the highest I’ve been!

I’ve read a lot about people saying it’s underwhelming and u can’t see any colours but they’re out and bright today and is a truly magnificent mountain.

It was a bloody hard walk, but just like everything else in this country, nothing of beauty is reached easily.

It’s colours have been formed over millions of years by sediment from mineral deposits.

It was only discovered for tourism in 2015 with the first guided tours being ran a year later. It is now up there as one of the main things to do whilst in Cusco and definitely worth the effort.

We regroup, take some photos and admire the view before the cold gets the better of us again.

As we got up in good time, we’re able to walk over to the next mountain to get a view of the red valley from the mirador. Normally u can walk down through it but due to the bad weather, muddy paths and landslides, the company we booked with said it wasn’t a good idea.

It looks incredible and would have been nice to see more but getting to this point is nice enough.

In a timer to get back to the bus, I rush back down. Taking the view and scenery as I go….I will never tire or bore if joe beautiful this country and it’s mountains are.

I get back to the bottom and see only 2 from my bus. I wonder that it’s pulled off but then find it. Turns out despite being 20 mins late, I am one of the first. I treat myself to a well earned chocolate bar and kick back in the bus whilst waiting for everyone else.

We make a lunch stop on the way back which is pretty good and we get to try alpaca….which is like stewed beef.

Another great tour by the sand company – Machu Picchu Reservations. If u do the Salkantay with them they will give u a discount. They’ve had a bit of a bad rap on Trip Advisor for this tour but it’s because they were not running it some days themselves – if they didn’t gave the numbers. They told me they were learning from this and will only run them self…which is much better. Guide wasn’t as great as Renzo, no information proffered but he got us there and back which was fine.

Back home, it’s time to get ready for a night out for Marcus’ last night. We start in Paddy’s bar before going onto another place that blasted out some wicked 90s tunes before heading to a club – Mama Africa in the main square.

Lots of beer, dancing and jumping about until we finally called it a night past 1am!!!

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