Day 11: Machu Picchu and back to Cusco
Machu Picchu Travel Blog› entry 14 of 17 › view all entries
August 6th, 2009 – by: davdstraat
Just after 6AM, we leave the hotel, to join the queue for the bus uphill only minutes later. Immediately, it becomes clear that setting out at this time was the right choice after all: even this early, the line is already quite formidable... I don't want to know how it would be a couple of hours later...
Almost twenty minutes waiting later we depart by bus to go up the mountain in a twenty five minute drive.
But during the first half hour of our guided tour, the spectacle is even more impressive that seeing the sunrise: seeing Machu Pucchu rise up out of the mist. It is an absolutely magnificent sight to see the old city on the old mountain slowly appear out of the white clouds, revealing more of this incredible site minute by minute. Many a moment we are speechless of what we see, that's how overwhelmed we are by the beauty of all this.
Our tour takes us through many interesting parts of this lost city (lost for four centuries and then found again), such as the Sun temple, the royal palace, the temple hill, the industrial area, and many living houses.
After these very interesting few hours in which we are told much much much more about this recently elected modern wonder of the world than I can recite here, we first collect the stamps of Machu Picchu in our passports (so we are now officially citizens of Machu Picchu). Then we take a break at the "snackbar" near the entrance (it's not really a snackbar, but it looks like one). There we can see why the entrance fees are so low (entrance to the archeological city is only six soles - a return ticket for the bus, however, is 14 US dollar): the prices of snacks and drinks here are enormous, even to European standards (one cheese pie and a small drink: 28 soles, which is seven euro). It tastes good, though, and after four hours of walking, you don't care that much about prices any more.
The rest of the free time to look around Machu Picchu, I join four others of our group heading for the Sungate. The walk across the mountainous terrain is the final part of the Inca trail in reverse. The view on Machu Picchu becomes better and better and more beautiful with view, it seems, as are the views over the landscape. The almost one and a half hour climb also proves to me that walking the Inca trail will not enter high on my list of holiday wishes... I think it must be beautiful, and I'm not scared of a bit of walking - but I don't want to overdo it...
While we are standing at the Sungate, taking some rest after our climb en admiring the view of the ancient city, we are treated to a very special occurence: a condor circling above Macchu Picchu. The magnificent sight of this bird of prey gliding through the air is stunning to everyone present.
Descending goes a lot more quickly than climbing, even with the shoes-with-broken-soles I'm still wearing. On the way down, we make a stop at the house of watchpost, from where we also have a nice view over the city. And there's another feat to accomplish to get there from where we are coming: we have to climb a classic Inca staircase (stones sticking out of the wall). That's how we find out that Incas must have been people taking very big steps (I'm not taking small steps myself, and on regular stairs I always take two steps at once as not to trip on the for me too small steps.
From the watch house, we descend to the exit, crossing the seismic safety region for the so-manieth time (the Inca built a strip into Machu Pichhu, which acts as a kind of foldline: a strip, on both sides flanked by walls, one which they did not build anything, just dug it out and covered it with grass, so that it dissipates the seismographic stresses on the city and the plateaus in case of an earthquake). Before we get to the bus downhill, we stop at the book- and souvenirshop, to look if they have some interesting stuff there (which they have).
Directly from the busstop we sit down at the terrace of a restaurant overlooking the trainstation, with live music from another tradional Inca group (and once more we are lucky to get a group of very good musicians).
While we are sitting at the terrace (which luckily is underneath a large sunroof, the weather quite suddenly changes, and we are witness to a semi-tropical thunderstorm. Water comes pooring down, while we are sitting dry eating our lunch. But, unfortunately, the rain lasts longer than we have time to lunch (we have to get back to the hotel in time, because we have to catch a train). So it's time for my new umbrella to show its capabilities... I had just taken it straight from the shop (in Holland) into my bag, without looking at it any further, this is the first time I unfold it... and to my enormous surprise I am confronted with eight white printed photographs of Audrey Hepburn all around the rim, of which I knew nothing about (a fact that my current companions find highly amusing.
Almost immediately after arriving at the hotel we start walking to the station, where we will take the train to Poyor. At the station I buy a large sandwich, so I can eat on the train. It's the same boarding ritual as in Ollanta yesterday (with passport checks etcetera), and once again the train leaves spot on time. Soon after departure, darkness falls over Peru, so it's done with taking photos from the train. My next bottle of Inka Kola accompanies my large sandwich to complete my dinner. My example is not followed by others in the group, which many regret afterwards...
When we leave the train in Poyor, our bus is waiting there to bring us to our hotel in Cusco, where our suitcases are still waiting.
There is still time enough to reach the nearest shops before they close, and I have freshly run out of drinking water. So it's out to the nearest supemarket, for some bottles of water and a bottle to drink; I walk around a bit more in eveningtime Cusco, before I return to the hotel. There I find many of my group still in the dining room of the hotel, most of them finally having been served their dinner (not all of them: some of the orders were forgotten by the waiter, and their meals never appeared on the table).
The next adventure is trying to access the wireless internet in my room. In my room, there is a sign that that should be available, but I can't get any connection. I go to the reception, and ask how I should do that. No problem, I get a piece of paper with a login-name and a password, that I should fill in at the access site. In fact, I get a whole lot of those pieces of paper... With just one small detail: none of them work. I'm trying to use my mobile phone to acces internet, and I do get onto the access site, I can even enter the codes... And then the server just hangs. No connection, no response, no nothing.
I decide to retire to my room for the night, but the today's adventures turned out not to be over for a long time. While preparing for bed, I decided to have a shave (I had left my shaving gear in my suitcase here in Cuzco, so it was high time to do so). Having finished that, I open the sink to let the water out by pushing down the leaver that holds down the plug. That's when I hear a stange sound, the sound of dripping water. When I look under the sink, the drainage has come clean off, at the sides of both the sink as well as the wall, and the water is flowing freely into my bathroom. I call the reception to notify them of the problem. "We will send someone".... You might expect a plumber, or at least a technical worker, but no: a few minutes later the security guard is knocking at my door.
Some minutes later, the receptionist calls me: they will have to do some work on it, and he is coming to inspect the problem himself. It takes him just one glance to tell me that I can't stay in this room, and that he is going to find another one for me. He leaves me to repack my fully unpacked suitcase, and tells me by telephone that I will be moved to room 111.
Another few minutes later, that gesturing securityguard is standing at my doorstep again, to "help" me move (his help consists of carrying the key of what is to be my new room, while I move my backpack, my suitcase and an extra linen bag.
So it's back to the leaking room 101, "awaiting further instructions". These come by telephone again: the receptionist, telling me that there are absolutely no other rooms available. He will come to fix the problem right now... For that, he locks himself into my bathroom for just over a quarter of an hour, bids me goodnight after all, accompanied by thousands of apologies (I think I never here the word "sorry" uttered so often by so few in such a short time).
With a two hour delay, I can finally go to bed, with a still unmended sink lurking in the bathroom...
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!