Cuzco and the mission to machu picchu

Trip Start Jun 06, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, July 23, 2006 instead of paying for the train or paying for one of the alternative treks, sara, anna and i, (2 english girls i met when i was volunteering) decided to go the 'alternative' way to MP...
caught a collectivo (kinda like a taxi) to a town called otalltamtambo on monday night. stayed there and got up at 6am ready to hike the 8 hours up the railway tracks to agua caught a mini bus to 'km 82' of the railway track where we are meant to start walking.....tiny tiny dirt town where we get bombarded by little peruvian women yelling at us in spanish. after hooking up with a colombian guy intending to do the same thing as us, we learn that the women were warning us that police control are on the tracks and if they catch us they will turn us back. so we end up paying this guy 10 soles to take us through his property passed the control point. he insists that this is the only control poing. however, 2 hours of walking later, we discover this is not true and after edwardo the colombian tries to negotiate with the peruvian policeman with a big gun for 20 mins it becomes apparent that there's no way we're getting we walk back...totally lacking motivation now (especially as the morning before i got my first real case of food poisoning.......coming out both painful....think i got it from a vegie burger! and now i still have chronic diarrea and terrible tummy pains!).
we catch a bus back to ottalltambo, wait a couple of hours, then catch a bus to santa maria, which takes an hour and a half longer than it should becuase we get stopped by road works. worst bus ride ever!!!!!! 5 hours of driving right on the cliffs edge, terrible peruvian music (kinda like bad indian music), freezing cold and the worst tummy pains ever!. and when we get to santa maria my bowels explode !!! can't eat anything. we sleep about 5 hours, before being woken up at 3am to catch the bus to santa teresa from where we can walk up the other train tracks. only thing true pervian style....the mini bus doesn't actually leave until 5.30am until the driver has crammed no less thatn 25 people in this van....another hairy bus ride. arrive in santa teresa......have breaky in a lovely tiny little shack where the owners take us to where the walk starts. but first we cross the river on a flying fox pully thingy, take a truck for 20 mins and then walk for two hours up the railway lines....the scenery is amazing! it's like walking through a scene from the tv show 'lost'. i never expected the mountains to be so lush!
the last hour of the walk is quite painful...still suffering the effects of the bad vegggie burger!
arriving in agua calientes is quite a relief...........3 days and we made it!!! we get up at 5am the next morning to see MP at sunrise.........words can't describe! it's such a beautiful place! we spend about 6 hours there before hiking back down the mountain and the railway track to santa teresa. from here we wait 3 hours (getting eaten alive by mossies!) for a bus to santa maria...which does eventually turn up. however, when we get to santa maria there are no buses back to cuzco because the next day is peru's national holiday,.........!!! it's about 8pm and we're all tired and dirty and just want to get back to cuzco. after some confusion we end up jumping in the back of a truck with a bunch of other gringos for a very long and freezing journey back to cuzco where we collapse into bed at 5am!!!!
and that is the story of the 'other other way' to MP!!!!!!
i know that was really long but i had to make sure i didn't forget it!!!!\hope you enjoyed!!!!!!!!
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