Highlights: Visiting Machu Picchu, hiking Wayna Picchu, eating alpaca meat
Pictures taken: 378
Travel: 30 minute bus ride to and from Machu Picchu
Favorite photo of the day:
I had a wake-up call at 7 and tried to ask for another at 7:20 but must have been misunderstood. I woke at 7:50 and dressed quickly while I dodged downstairs for breakfast. They had orange juice, bananas, oranges, and a flat bread with butter and jams. I ate a couple of bananas, drank some juice and got ready for my first chore.
First I went to the train station and modified my ticket. The one I had was returning me to Ollanta and I decided to take the train clear to Cusco instead. That cost me an additional $17 and I leave an hour earlier – the last train to Cusco from Aguas Calientes. I won’t arrive in time to track down a braso sapo though.
I then bought my entry ticket for Machu Picchu and then went and bought a bus ticket to get up and back. The bus ticket was $14 dollars and the entry to the park was 124 soles (a bit over $40). I hopped on the bus and when it was nearly filled we started the drive to the park and up the narrow switchbacks.
It was probably close to 9:00 by the time I was on the bus. I skirted by the groups of tourists (i’m not using that word in a condescending way – I know i’m a tourist too.) and their guides and followed the suggested route in my guidebook and the map that they gave with the entry ticket. There’s no way that I can blog about the history of the site – there’s just too much to write. I did opt to climb the peak behind Machu Picchu (as seen in the first photos below) but here are some of my favorite pictures that I took of the main ruins.
I stood in line for about a half hour and got into the limited access Wayna Picchu where they only let 400 people in at a time. It is the peak that is usually behind Machu Picchu in most photographs. I met an Australian named Alex in the line and we hiked up together. It took about 50 minutes – we started at 11:00. At the summit I met her traveling companions – two Canadians and one Englishman. We spent a while at the top and then hiked down together. At the ruins we split ways but made plans to meet up for dinner.
I wandered the other half of the ruins for another few hours (but I included those photos above). Then I took the bus back down.
I showered – the hike made me awfully sweaty despite the cool temperatures and rain. It was kind of like a summer day in Petersburg up there. Then I had a snack of sangria and papas fritas. Our dinner plans were for 9 PM and I only had a light breakfast.
I got a bit of sun despite the rain and cool weather.
I went to the hot springs again but was very careful to not touch my face after my hands had been in the water. I avoided any splashing children too.
At 9 I met the group from the rest of the English speaking world and we had a bottle of wine. I ordered the alpaca and it was delicious. It was cooked on an open wood-fired grill in the middle of the restaurant.