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The Inca trail to Machupicchu leads through a beautiful valley. The start is over 3000m and has cacti and other plants suited to the arid climate, but as the trail descends the flora becomes more tropical and the path is lined with many orchids and other flowers. After weeks of sunshine, the day we walked to Machupicchu rained solidly. As the path descended towards the site we could hardly see 100m. We waited and the cloud lifted revealing Machupicchu. I had seen lots of photos of the site and, frankly I didn't think, going on the photos it deserved to be one of the manmade wonders of the world. Well, as is so often the case, the photos just don't do it justice. the site is spectacular in design, but more so in location with steep cliffs dropping almost sheer 700 metres to the valley below.

Macchu Picchu Incan Trail Peru mountains trek hike view landcape ruins ancient incan beautiful scenery Macchu Picchu Incan Trail Peru mountains trek hike view landcape ruins ancient incan beautiful scenery llamas posing foreground

The next morning we arrived at Machupicchu at 6, just as the sun was rising and well before the tours rolled in. The morning was glorious without a cloud in the sky. At the far end of the site is a tall rock called Waynapicchu that you can climb to get an almost aerial view of the ruins (the dark peak in the middle of the photo above). We sat at the top and watched as the sun's heat started forming clouds from the wet forest a kilometre below.

Cusco at night church tourist city attractions Peru

Back in Cusco we had one last meal in our favourite restaurant before catching a bus to Puno and Lake Titicaca. Titicaca, split between Peru and Bolivia is one of the world's highest navigable lakes at 3,810m above sea level and is home to some of the most interesting ethnic groups in the region. The Urus people originally fled Incan conquest onto floating reed island. They have lived there ever since, making not only their islands from reeds, but their houses and boats too. Their existence is quite extraordinary, but has become somewhat over-commercialised with hundreds of visitors a day invading their islands.

Today we caught an early bus to Bolivia. Ange and I were sitting in the front seats enjoying the views of Titicaca. In front a pickup piled high with potatoes and a couple of young boys in the back was powering along. The driver went to overtake another bus in front of us, but saw an oncoming pickup. I thought he had plenty of time to brake and pull back in, but he locked the pickup and took it into the bus. I raced from our bus to the crushed cab as the driver freed himself. The back of the bus was over a metre off the ground and had missed the front of the pickup but come straight through windscreen crushing the head and upper body of the driver's wife. The husband held his two young sons, aged I would guess aged about 6 and 8, as he stroked his wife. Needless to say, it was completely heart-breaking.

Now we are in Copacobana, not the famous one in Brazil, but a rather average town in Bolivia, and tomorrow is another day.