|It is Pam's birthday today (not 50 yet!) and Pepe made sure it started off right with a birthday cake for breakfast! We hit the Inca trail early and climbed for about 2 hours and 2000', uphill through the steamy cloud forest. Then it was all downhill, stopping along the way at the recently restored ruins of Llactapata for our first views of Machu Picchu in the distance across the valley. A spectacular site and from this view we could see how Machu Picchu was perfectly situated to withstand assaults, shear cliffs all around it! We had lunch with a view at a restaurant in the middle of no where, then started down the steep trail (3000'!) to the Aobamba River, site of a Hydroelectric Plant and the train station to Aguas Calientes, our next stop. This is the last night of our trek and we said a sad goodbye to Lizaida before boarding the train for the 30 minute ride. Pepe led us through town to the beautiful Inkaterra Hotel, situated on a huge site at the edge of town. Probably the nicest place to stay in this somewhat seedy tourist town with the exception of the $1000/night Machu Picchu Sanctuary hotel that is locate at the archaeological site. Waiting for us in the bar of the hotel was our friend Ann from Toronto. We met Ann in 1993 in Yogjakart Indonesia on a tourst bus and have kept in touch with her ever since. Unfortunately our MLP trip was full and she couldn't join us but we didn't feel too sorry for her because she went to the Galapagos instead and then met us in Machu Picchu. After catching up over a Pisco Sour, she joined our group for our last dinner. We celebrated renewed friendships, new friendships, a great trip and Pam's birthday with Cava and a fantastic meal. Pepe had even arranged for another cake to make a perfect ending to a not quite 50 birthday!