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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lima Trip - Day 4 (Machu Picchu)

Was an early morning alarm...5:30a...oof. Was necessary so that I could grab a bite of breakfast before starting my day-long trek to the ruins. After a quick shower and a small sandwich, I was ready to go - my hopeful driver had my tickets and all was in order. Only problem...the car was late. After 10 minutes, the driver who was supposed to take me found me another ride via a separate shuttle to get me to the Poroy train station. I was a little concerned...it was to be a 30 minute ride and the train doesn't usually wait. And of course we had to make five other pickups along the way. After all the stops and several slow vehicles, we made it to the station with about 10 minutes to spare. I ran to my car and seat, and soon we were off. I was surprised to see that half of our train car was empty, so after about 10 minutes everyone shifted around and I got my own seat for the four hour ride.

At this point I will quickly comment about Peruvian driving. I thought there were worse drivers, but none compare to those here. Weaving, jerking, all over the road...add that to very uneven roads that aren't paved, and if you have any type of motion sickness you'd be in trouble.

The next several hours were amazing. The countryside seemed to change every 10 minutes or so and with large windows on every side, picture taking was very easy. We transitioned from relatively barren terrain to much more tropical as we moved. My only complaint would be how much rocking took place on these train cars - not at all like the Swiss ones I'm used to. It was pretty neat though to be whisked along right on the side of the mountain...the route takes you along the river and at some points crosses the actual Inca Trail (next trip).

I wondered how my transition would take place in Aguas Calientes, and as I suspected it was people chaos. Thankfully a nice man was yelling out my name and after all of our group members were found, we walked down into town as a light rain started to fall and to the busses where we loaded and then were off for our 30 minute ride up the mountain.

And we were literally on a one lane dirt road that weaved up the mountain (reminded me of Spring Coulee Road). One wrong move...but our driver got us up there safely and to the entrance!

The ruins...are special. It was a workout to get around (which reminded me of the trek from Gimmelwald to Murren the first time), but at the top the views were unparalleled. Our tour guide was very good and we were constantly on the move for the next few hours. Although it started out cool and with low clouds, the sun eventually came out and things warmed up. Soon after it was back down the mountain to my pre-arranged train trip, and back to Cusco.

A long day, but I'm so happy how everything turned out. Can't wait to come back and spend the necessary time to really explore Cusco and the other ruins around Machu Picchu.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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