Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Peru

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu! Wow. Just off the trail, turned a corner and saw this view. So beautiful!

Machu Picchu Peru

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Edgar our “wyqui” (friend in Quechua language).
The steppes behind are extensive and have lasted since the 1400s through earthquakes and nature encroaching.

Friday, July 13

The train to Machu Picchu is in Ollytaytambo, about 20 minutes from our hotel (Casa Andena Private Collection). The train was a Vista Dome and very comfortable with large windows.

I’ll miss the Coca Tea

The train attendants gave us a snack and beverage (I had coca tea which I’ll miss when I go back, can’t bring it to the states.) The ride is about 1.5 hours of beautiful terrain, very relaxing and pleasant.

Whoa, wait! Why is the train taking us downhill? 

What was amazing to me is the train was taking us down- not up! We went from 8000 ft at the Sacred Valley (Ollytaytambo) to 6000 ft at Aqua Calientes. The Urubamba river followed the train tracks but its dry season so although the water was rushing in many places its tamer at this time of year compared to the summer, wet season.

Aqua Calientes, the starting point to Machu Picchu

We arrived in Aqua Caliente (hot springs), a town just below Machu Picchu where we disembarked and went to the bus to take us up to Machu Picchu, I have to say Edgar has timed all this so well that we never stand in lines.

Hairpin turns and tourists

It’s amazing. We see lots of people from all over the world, and many, many 20 somethings with backpacks (and the typical Peruvian wool hats). You know the colorful wool hats with the ties that hang down. The bus ride is about 30 minutes of hairpin turns going up, the drivers are clearly experienced but its hair-raising at times. Few guard rails.

Getting my Macchu Picchu Passport Stamp

We arrive at the entrance of Machu Picchu and show our tickets and passports (they have a passport stamp of Machu Picchu which is allowed because of the status of the place).

The dreaded hike up

Then there is 20 minute a hike up to the sight – and wow! The walk around the sight is challenging. Lots of uneven steps up and down. Edgar took us around for about 3 hours explaining the parts and pointing out interesting facts. Having a guide and small group is preferable because you’d miss so many details going alone.

Helpful tour mates

There is strong evidence that multiple parts of the sight were under construction when the sight was abandoned and apparently it was abandoned before the Spain conquest. I need to do more research now that I’ve been here. Our group is great, we all helped each other when there were challenging steps or we wanted a picture of ourselves. It’s a nice group of people. All of us were able to do the three hours of challenging terrain without incident. It would be easy to trip or go over on an ankle if you’re not careful but there was always an arm if you needed it.

Lunch with a view

When we were done we had lunch right there at a very busy Machu Picchu restaurant (Sanctuary Lodge, Tinkuy restaurant/buffet), but efficient buffet restaurant. We were all hungry and thirsty, but pumped! After lunch, we headed back down to Aqua Caliente, wandered around the market (large with lots of Peruvian crafts and touristy stuff).

Trains and buses, long day. But wow!

Our train left right on time and besides the snack and beverage we had a fashion show of beautiful Alpaca sweaters, shawls and a coat I lusted after (my favorite blue/red color with reversible black Alpaca lining. I didn’t even ask how much – too much I’m sure.

We then had a 2.5-hour bus ride to Cusco and our hotel for 3 night.  Still pumped.  Another bucket list ticked off.  I’m grateful for the chance to see amazing world sites.

About

I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.

5 Comments

  • Bev July 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm Reply

    Enjoying this very much, Kath. And it’ll be even better when you add the pictures and other information. In the meantime, enjoy it all! Bev

  • Betsy July 14, 2013 at 11:29 am Reply

    So interesting, Kathy! Love your easy, breezy writing. I feel like I’m there. Love to hear what you’re eating!

    • Kathryn Schlitzer July 14, 2013 at 12:47 pm Reply

      Hi Betsy: so glad you’re enjoying. I’m really liking Peru and its been a great trip. We’ve been Hving a lot of “authentic” meals but when we eat T the hotels for instance there is a good selection, something for everyone. The food has been good in general. The waiters are well trained and the presentation as good as the better restaurants at home – and in many cases better!
      We’ve had a number of meals with families and in small restaurants in the countryside that have been more as the locals eat. Lots of quinoa, corn and always a variety potatoes. They grow over thousands of varieties of potatoes in Peru. Some very odd shapes, looks and textures.
      Breakfast is always. Hotel buffet so it’s hard to tell what the Peruvians eat because the hotels cater to foreigners. Our hotels have been 4-5 star and very comfortable. Gate one has done an excellent job.
      See when I get home.
      Kathy

  • milly and fred July 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm Reply

    Kathy-we are loving the entire trip- good job-your natural calling-travel agent!!!!the whole trip is fascinating- it reminds us of the amazon trip-another world-see you soon m&f

    • Kathryn Schlitzer July 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm Reply

      Just landed in Miami on my slow way home. Talk soon. Great trip. Kathy

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