I still don't have a clear understanding of how to spell this lost city built by the Incans.
It was literally the best and worst trip of my life. It was hot and cold (temperature wise and emotionally). The Lares trek (an alternative trek to the sold out Inca Trail hike) is not actually necessary or useful in getting to Machu Picchu. It's just wandering around and sleeping on random mountains in the opposite direction of the destination. It is beautiful though, even if it was irrelevant.
I mostly hiked alone, because I enjoy being one with nature and also because if we were walking, I was always in the back looking down at my feet so I wouldn't fall or cry about how far we still had to go uphill. All about that fanny pack lyfe!
This group saw each other throw up (Amy), cry (me), pee (all of us), so basically as close as you can get to a group of randomly assigned strangers from the U.S. and U.K. My insistence on listening to the Hamilton soundtrack the entire trip did not make things awkward with the Brits luckily. They were so fun, even when they (Afiq) argued with me and pretended not to know who the real housewives were.
The best food I ate mostly came from my own backpack. My body is accustomed to processed and refined sugars, so anything else puts it in crisis mode. But the butter and chips they had everywhere were in the top 10 faves of this trip. Andrew and I ate cookies in the middle of the night because camping. I woke him up at 1:30am our first night when I had to leave our freezing tent to go outside to the even more freezing toilet tent because it's impossible to do all of that quietly. It's even more impossible to go back to sleep in your slippery sleeping bag that slides down the slightest incline with pointy rocks under the tent jabbing you in the side.
And now a bazillion pictures of the lost city that a 10 (or 12 or 15 depending on which tour you go on) year old local boy showed some white man 100 years ago. They give you unlimited access to a "Machu Picchu" stamp for your passport, seemed very unofficial...it took a few tries to get the perfect stamp.
At the end of the trip I was sore, sunburnt, happy I'd done it (because it was over) and #1 on my Fitbit leaderboard, which was the real reason for the trip.