One Crazy Train Ride!

Aguas Calientes Travel Blog

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Not the Hiram Bingham, but it still got us there!
     Well before dawn we rolled out and hauled our overnight bags to the train station.  If you are not hardy enough to hike the Inca Trail, the only way to get to Machu Picchu is by train.  As mentioned earlier, Cusco is nestled in a bowl or valley.  A straight path over the mountains is not possible and a mountain pass is not available.  The train ride was a unique experience as it alternated between forward and reverse, zig-zagging its way up the mountain.  After a three and a half hour ride, we arrived.  We learned that most of the day tourists arrive about 10, scramble all over the mountain, then hustle back to the trains at 2 for the return to Cusco.
Thank goodness, no fog, no mist, no rain!
  Since we planned to spend the night, we first checked into our lodgings, ate lunch, then did some casual shopping.  The schedule called for a tour with a guide at 2:30, after the tourists had cleared out.  Talk about not being able to sleep the night before Christmas!  I'd waited 40 years for this and we decide to go shopping!!!!
     Finally we headed out, up a road with at least a dozen switchbacks and narrower than any road back home.  Incredibly, we met and passed 3 buses on the way up.  Lord! I'm this close!  Don't let us roll off the mountain.  We arrived, entered, and I followed the trail to the left, nearly running up the slope to burst out of the foliage and be presented with the classic postcard view of Machu Picchu!  I'm not ashamed to admit I shed a tear or two.
    Our guide was knowledge, gracious, and patient with all our questions, and I don't think more than 20 other people were present in the entire park.   As we were leaving for the day, our guide casually mentioned that hiking Huayna Picchu was something that shouldn't be overlooked.  So several of us decided to set our alarm clocks to take the 5:30 a.m. bus to Machu Picchu, see the sunrise and conquer Huayna Picchu.
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Not the Hiram Bingham, but it stil…
Not the Hiram Bingham, but it sti…
Thank goodness, no fog, no mist, n…
Thank goodness, no fog, no mist, …
A theory as to the purpose of the …
A theory as to the purpose of the…
City gate.
City gate.
Huayna Picchu.
Huayna Picchu.
Rainbow on our descent from Machu …
Rainbow on our descent from Machu…
Just behind that peak .......
Just behind that peak .......
Main square in Aquas Calientes.
Main square in Aquas Calientes.
Notice the gutter down the MIDDLE …
Notice the gutter down the MIDDLE…
Local eatery, everyone seemed to s…
Local eatery, everyone seemed to …
Aguas Calientes
photo by: Vikram