The climax of our trek - not disappointed!

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
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Trip End Jan 19, 2007


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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Up at 4am and have breakfast before we leave at 4.30 for our walk uphill and lots of steps with Roberto to Machu Picchu. Is quite difficult and I am pretty slow but we make it for opening time at 6am. Quite a few tourists are there having walked up and also the first bus arrives. We feel very virtuous having walked up and think we appreciate it more having done a mini trek this morning!

As we go in the site is so huge the tourists seem to disappear. We turn round the corner to get our first site of the ruins with the amazing mountainscape in the background. I can only say WOW! We were not disappointed at all. Llamas are at the top of the hill overlooking the area which makes for great photos and we stand waiting for the sun to rise over other nearby mountains covering the ruins in sunlight.

We start our tour with an English speaking guide around the various terraces, the quarry, temples, told about the equinoxes and how people lived and how it was discovered in the early 20th Century. Is very interesting stuff.

After that we decide to walk more up hill to Wayna Picchu which is the steep mountain you see behind the ruins in most photos. It is a steep one hour climb and at the top there are loads of tourists and a pretty dangerous path. The ruins look very flat from up here and are shaped like the condor they were sposed to. Apparently Incan complexes are designed to create the shape of an object.

We head back downhill and then sit in the sun overlooking it all taking it in. More and more tour groups arrive as the 11am train has arrived from Cusco and the places feels a bit different as a result, but still amazing.

We decide to get the bus downhill back to Aguas Calientes which is possibly one of the oddest towns I have ever visited being purely there for tourists and a lot of overpriced restaurants and shops. We want junk food for our lunch to treat ourselves and manage to get a cheapo menu touristico for a few soles near the train tracks.

Then we meet Roberto where surprise, surprise there has been a problem with our return train tickets. We had paid for a direct train back to Cusco (mainly as Dave hoped I would keep quiet about more train trips I think). Instead we got tickets to Ollantantambo and then were sposed to get a bus back to Cusco.

Train journey was very nice along the river and through the narrow valley with great views of the train winding along the banks and the fantastic mountains around us. On arrive at Olly there were no buses so we had to get a taxi collectivo with a couple of other people to Urubamba a nearby town and then another one to Cusco. We were not v happy that the company had just let us fend for ourselves seeing as we had paid for a tour. We went to visit them to get the money back for the train and the extra transport home and it was promised tomorrow without any row (yet!)

Then took all our washing to Joanna at the hostal which was a lot by this point before having a comfort dinner at the Real McCoys again of baked potato with beans and cheese. Heaven.
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