Wow, so this is heaps later than i had originally planned =D
So here i am in New York writing about the time in Cuzco which i was originally planning to write about when i was in Santiago. Just got a burst of 1am inspiration and i thought i would make a post for old times sake =)
So the day in machu picchu started out as a very early day with not heaps of sleep the night before for no real reason, i think we had gone for a walk to plaza de armas and then made dinner got to bed around 12ish and didnt go to sleep until around 1. so as can be seen, not that much sleep concidering the wake up time 6ish!
That morning we got our bags for the day, during which i thought it might be a good idea to take $US 20 with us kinda like a get out of jail in case we got caught short and need cash for some reason, much to nicks confusion (this will become more relevant later). Went downstairs now with our freshly aclimatised lungs and had some breadrolls with jam and took a few for the road. All we took with us that day was camera, battery, jumper, bread, a packet of pepito bicies, tickets and about 100 soles each. We didn’t take any of our big documents because of all the horror stories we had heard about everyone getting mugged.
Any how we left the hostel got to the road and stopped the first taxi that went by:
“can we go to poroy?”
“no problem, 30 soles”
“make it 25?”
So there we are, driving to poroy which was about 20 min from the hostel. Driving along roads that had heaps steep enbankments and were full of rubbish from the much poorer parts of town on the outskirts of Cuzco. Well long story short we got to the train station and as we are pulling up my taxi driver says “That is 30 soles thanks”, to which i replied “no sir you said we were coming here for 25, not 30” at which point the driver started to give reasons why we should pay him the 30 such as it is a long journey and that he will be returning without any passengers. Again i told him it was not my problem as he had agreed on the price nick gave him the money and we got out of the taxi.
We had to wait for a while for the train to leave but eventually it left the station and we were on the way to machu picchu! The train was really nice concidering it was the cheapest one (and still pretty expensive!) the toilet could only be used when the train was moving cos some people said it just dropped to the tracks. but i dont really know if that is true. Anyway the train company would tell us every so often thanks for taking preference to travel with them (the have a monopoly on train travel in peru) and also had 4 songs all of which were the same traditional peruvian music played in different genres. FOR 2.5 HOURS!
After seeing some really nice landscapes we finally arrived to Aguas Calients! YAY…. no. It was the most horrible place i had been to in the entire trip, even today when i am writting this. Times square is less tourist focused then that town!
We walk out of the train station with pouring rail and go directly into a small peruvian style craft market that would take up at least 1 block, remembering that the whole town might be about 8 blocks in size. Cross a bridge and you get to more little markets and the restaurants start, there was pretty much only mexican and italian, i honestly dont remembering seeing any peruvian style restaurants in all the parts of the city we walked. So back to walking out, it was raining so hard we had to buy ponchos 2 for 5 soles. We really wanted to get to wichu picchu which is that tall mountain behind the main city that you see in all the pictures, but only 400 people are allowed up each day so we quickly went to find the place to get the tickets to go into machu and then the bus to go up. which from what nick had read was only 7 soles each, which turns out was kinda wrong, as it was 7 dollars, each. so lucky i had that note which we were able to use to get the tickets up the mountain. With all the rain i felt the bus step out about 2 or 3 times going up the road until we finally got to the entrance of the park…
Going to leave it here, got really tired and it is 2am in new york. will update soon with the rest of the adventure =)
In London now and lets continue!
Ok so i got up going up a hill in a bus that was drifting up a hill with shear drops, cool. Well once we reached the summit we got out and went for run to try to get to wichu picchu which is that big tall bit that you always see behind machu. turns out that getting there at 11:30 is still too late to be able to go up there! (the first 400 can go up) but anyway talking to people later in the day it seems like you couldnt see anything because it was so foggy so i am not that annoyed by it. If you go to skinnys facebook you can see most of the pictures http://on.fb.me/f02MrO that might work if you are friends with the man, if not then bad luck i guess.
But the moral of that big of the story is that we couldn’t see anything for ages and the rain was strong! that continued until around 1:30 when it started to get lighter. so in the time when we couldn’t really see we just went exploring because it is not really worth trying to get amazing pictures of clouds! We went all along the plaza and down the sides the flat bit where we think they must have planted food, tagged onto a tour for a little while just to see what they were talking about and did the thing that i had been waiting 3 weeks to do. Eat my Pepito cookies that i bought in uraguay! yes i found a packet of cookies called “Pepito’s” and saved them for a special occasion which ended up being inside a sort of rock cave at machu picchu in the rain. That packet travelled more than 6000km, that is more than some people travel in their entire lives and i am not talking about people without legs that are homebound either!
But yes the cookies were good and shortly after that very special life changing meal the rain also started to slow down, just like the tourists also started to leave. after 3 1/2 hours in the rain you start to get sick of it and all that you want is to be dry. but no, not me no i to quote delta goodrem, i wanted to be there for the long hall! the site closed at 5 and i was going to say till 5, which was convenient because around 2:30 the sun came out and it was the more beautiful day you could imagine. Not many tourists around (think 100 people on the whole site). The remained of the afternoon we walked a lot more than earlier we went up a really big hill to look out at the city from up high and see what was on the other side of the mountain (not much, just forest). that continued until 5pm at which we started to make our way back down the hill by foot down some massive stairs. We met 2 spanish folk who studied in chile so we walked with them, on the way back to the town which was about 3 km down the road a blister that had developed on the back of my foot was hurting too much so i ended up walking the rest of the way barefoot which was not that bad to be honest!
We got back to the town and went to the train station where we just waited ages for the train. When the train finally arrived with its out of order carriages (ABCEFD) found our seats and started talking with our fellow train riders who were chilean and mexican. both of them really nice and we went the whole just chatting away… Arriving at Ollantaytambo we got off the train and went looking for a taxi or bus that would be able to get us back to Cuzco which was not looking that easy and again it had started to rain really hard, when suddenly the 2 thai people that were at our hostel told us that a guy had offered to take us back to cuzco for 80 something soles which is pretty cheap being perfectly honest.
Had a look at his taxi which was is really good nick, and driver seemed nice enough and he wanted to get back home in cuzco as well as he had driven some people to Ollan earlier in the day and needed someone for the trip back and was also having trouble finding someone. So in we get to the taxi and we start to head home, pretty quickly all the other fall asleep and i try to keep awake as long as i could, i think i drifted off once or twice just before arriving to Cuzco. We dirrected him to the hostel and discovered that the thai didnt have enough change so nick and i pull what we have on us and made the amount. JUST! we checked the next day and it was literally 2 soles in our pocket after the trip. Now if i may remind you all of what had happened earlier that morning with the other taxi driver which wanted to charge us 5 soles extra. yeah i know that was pretty friggen close!
Summing up machu picchu was totally worth having a hectic blister, empty pockets and being cold for the entire day from moutain rain. and in all honesty i would not want to experience it any other way. The fact that we had to fight to get there and back be cold and sore make it our own adventure, we didnt get to do the inca train, but we did get to experience a little of what they go though being sore cold, tired and hungry.
Not sure if i will write much more about south america, maybe a bit about the times in the south or just one final sum up of chile. Because i still have 2 weeks in canada, 1 week in new york, and a few days in iceland to update this humble blog with. If i have enough steam in me i hope to have it all up to date before i head off for mainland europe on the 16th in the morning, but like all my posts dont hold me to it =)
Peace oot as i would say in canada and hope you enjoyed it eh!