February 21st, 2008 – by: sissanoel
Machu Picchi as we first saw it!
After having the best beds and pillows every, we couldn´t really enjoy it because had to get up at 4am to go to Machu
Picchu! But not to worry, because this is one of the highlights of the trip. However, in true Gap style, the non-trekkers had been forgotten again. Our entry and bus tickets to the site had been forgotten, so we were expected to come up with S/122 each for the entry and another US$12 for the bus each, which we simply didn´t have because were told not to bring much up here. We scraped together the entry, but the guide had to sort out the bus tickets - we should get refunded tomorrow (although Gap very cavalierly said we´d get it back in a couple of days - Melissa bluntly told them that wasn´t good enough).
Machu Picchu as we later saw it!
By this time, we were all getting quite angry but managed to calm ourselves down to visit one of the wonders of the world. When we arrived it was extremely foggy so really couldn´t see anything at all. Our guide took us around the main site while the fog cleared from time to time, but it wasn´t until about 10.30am that we could get a clear view. We walked around the Inca Bridge, which is a brick structure built flush against a cliff with a couple of planks across it, acting as a drawbridge. It´s very simple, but just building it would have been a feat. By the time we got back, the fog was gone and the famous MP views were in abundance. We walked around the site again for some more photos and then got the bus back down to the town after a visit of about 5 1/2 hours.
Machu Pichu from the track to the Inca Bridge.
We basically spent the next 5 hours sitting around waiting for our train, which was delayed because of the strikes. This one, however, was the "Vistadome" - the flash train with big seats, food and entertainment. We got a lunch box with a push out postcard on the lid and then a costumed man did a dance up and down the aisles while letting us pat his pretend alpaca (!), and then two train staff gave us a fashion show of the latest alpaca garments. This is the most surreal train journey we´ve ever been on, but certainly kept us amused for an hour and a half.
Due to the strikes, there were two policemen on each carriage, and our guide was hoping they could come back to Cusco
with us on our bus, but unfortunately the bus was too small. This was quite a disturbing trip. All the roads had been blockaded with rocks, trees, wheelie bins and anything else that could be used. The driver managed to get through most fairly easily, but it was a dark, wet night and driving these winding roads while not knowing what was around the corner must have been a nightmare for him. When we got to Cusco, we unfortunately got stuck in a bit of a road block where young men started throwing rocks and banging the van. Our driver, bless him, got us through but the whole experience was pretty scarey. We were very glad to get back to our hotel and fall into bed.