Post race day (which was exhausting in case you hadn’t already figured from previous posts) instead of having a well deserved lie in, I decided to get up super early to go and visit Machu Pichu.
The train I was supposed to get was at 610 am but my alarm didn’t go off and I ended up having to buy another ticket on the next train at 705. Bummer. Especially since the tickets aren’t cheap – the earlier you go and the later you come back, the better the price is. But since I had to get another ticket I had to spend an additional 80 euros. My bad. I should have set two alarms to make sure I got up!
The train stop is just 300m down the road from where I was staying so it was easy to run down after checking out and throwing my bags in the lobby.
The train takes an hour and a half to get to Aguas Calientes, the town at the bottom of Machu Pichu and it’s a real tourist place, full of lots of restaurants and places to stay but not a lot else.
Since I’d smashed my left thigh up pretty badly, taking the hike up toachu Pichu was not going to be an option so I got a return trip on the bus instead. Considering it’s an 8km hike up steep steps and paths and the day was already getting hotter and hotter, I knew I’d made the right decision. Air conditioning and a comfy seat, nice.
Once you’re there there’s enough steps and hiking around the ruins to be done anyway which was plenty of exercise for my poor battered legs!
I hiked straight up the the ‘Sun Gate’ which meets one of the Inca trails coming into the site from below. It took about an hour to hike up over rocky paths and more steep steps, but the view (above) was worth it. You can see the whole of Machu Pichu ruins and the mountain behind, which you’re allowed to hike up (if you’re mental as it looks super steep) and it also costs extra. They only let 200 people up per day to protect the site. 200 crazy people if you ask me.
It was so hot and places to sit in the shade were pretty limited, especially as more and more people arrived at the site. There’s a Belmont hotel at the top which was a surprise to see, but then I guess some people prefer the luxury and easy access. Lots of older travellers were staying there.
The site is pretty impressive, and the stonework was everything I’d expected to see and more. When you consider the altitude and remoteness of the place it’s pretty mind blowing what they managed to achieve.
I’d booked on the 640pm train back to Ollantaytambo and to be honest I wish I’d been on an earlier train. Once you’ve followed the marked route round the ruins, there’s nothing more to do than get the bus back down to the town below and hang out waiting for the train. Boring. 3 hours to kill. There’s only so much stuff you can do on your phone before getting bored and my ipod seems to have been playing in my bag the whole time so the battery was flat!
As soon as I got off the train about 830pm I had to nip back to the lodge to grab my other bags and try to negotiate a good price for a taxi to Cusco. Thankfully the man at the lodge reception was super friendly and flagged me down a cab, told the driver the price I was willing to pay and to make sure he dropped me at the hostel door in Cusco. Winner. Must remember to write a great review for the lodge on trip advisor, it was such a good week there, they totally deserve 5 stars!
I arrived in Cusco around 1030pm and although I was totally knackered I started trying to repack my (Kitch’s) bike bag, which was a lumpy, half zipped up mess.
This morning I’ve been mooching about the town, been to check out the Inca museum, booked a swanky overnight bus to Nasca for tomorrow and I might go on a free walking tour of the city in a bit.
It’s pretty relaxed here, although everyone is trying to sell you something, tourist knick knacks, a photo of a lady with a baby lamb in her back pack,
(yes I did!) necklaces and massages. I guess they know lots of hikers are in need of some attention by the time they get here.
I’ve got until 5pm tomorrow here and it’s nice not having an agenda. I might even go back to the hostel for a nap, because I can! I think I’ve earn it 🙂