Stooges in Macchu Picchu
Machu Picchu Travel Blog› entry 68 of 79 › view all entries
a trip to Perú wouldnt be complete without the mandatory stop at Cusco & Macchu Picchu. As a general rule in South America, it seems if you´ve heard about it, its touristy. Cusco is no exception. For a second rule, if its touristy, its usually for a good reason. Once again, Cusco in no exception.
The town was once the capital of an Incan
empire & later Peru. Now it boasts the usual suite of architecture and
culture. There are plenty of shops and markets to cater to the full range of
tourists. Locals have seen their fair share of tight arse backpackers, and dont
seem to force sales of crafts upon you, nor do taxi drivers try to rip you off.
Arriving on a Saturday, we were keen for a
party, and engaged in one accordingly. This yielded us with a headache for a
day or so. But we were keen to head off to Macchu Picchu as soon as we could,
& headed to a town by the name of Ollaytatambo – the jumping point for what
would turn out to be our expedition to MP.
There are several options for getting to MP. The most poular is the famed Inca Trail - 5 days of hiking through the mountains. It would have been an amazing trip, but didnt fit out budget this time. It is the kind of thing you do on a 2 week express trip to Peru. When it is part of an 8 month journey through Latin America, the $500US required to participate is a little out of context. Another option is an over priced train in and out. As there is no road in nor out of MP, Peru rail has a firm stranglehold on transportation and ticket prices.
There are other, cheaper, alternative hikes, but we figured why not give it a go ourselves.... so we set out on a bus, with the intention of walking the long way around into MP - the final approach is an unguarded section of train line (the main entrance is guarded!) popular with stooge backpackers.
BUT, after an hour and a half of standing up on a bus (we were last on, and seated accordingly!), we were halted by a rockslide... which meant a lot of waiting around. We were the first bus on the scene, and as the day progressed, the rockslide worsened and more buses showed up. To top it off, it rained, and as we didnt have seats on the bus, we had to stand inside the bus waiting for the rain to ease, so we could pace around outside the bus, watching more rocks fall from the cliff. Needless to say it became very frustrating.
After 10 hours, and an argument between the angry passengers and a stubborn bus driver who didnt want to turn around (he thought he would get the sack).... we were finally back en route to Ollaytatambo.
upon arrival, we were thoroughly dissapointed to find every bed in town was full... and we needed some sleep desperately. So our gang which comprised of the four of us, and four other argentinean girls in the same situation, headed to the local square with the intention of sleeping on the concrete....only to be told to move on.
We conceded and purchased a train ticket for early the next morning.... and made it to the other end of the hideously expensive train line - Aguas Calientes. AFter a leisurely breakfast & walk up to MP we then (cringed) bought an entry ticket.... we made it!!!
Macchu Picchu is an extroadinary place... we´ve all seen the pictures & know someone who has been, but you really have to see it with your own eyes. The setting is amazing, 400m above the valley below, and at least 400m below the peaks above, it is surrounded by amazing granite cliffs & pinnacles. Despite the tourists, the experience is still magical.
Once we had our fix, we left MP headed out the way we intended to arrive....
Out to Santa Theresa - a 2 hour walk along train tracks to a dam to get a taxi to Santa Theresa. That evening we soaked in Hot Springs.... its a tought life!!
Feeling satisfied with my Macchu Picchu experience, it was back to cusco, and on to Lake Titicaca & Bolivia!!!