This was going to be on of the highlights of our trip, and it was! We had been concerned about the weather, as it turned just before we left (apparently this was related to the full moon) and luckily all cleared before we arrived.
On the way to Aguas Calientes, we travelled to the Sacred Vally with Ollaytantambo, as it was on the way. This is a site that was never completed due to the Spanish invasion.
Ollaytantambo – Painstaking precision stone masonary
We got to Aguas Calientes the night before, only to be put up in mini sized beds (literally, maybe they want you to air your feet out?!) that was part of our package. Next morning, we arose at 4:30, with at 5am breakfast and 5:30 meeting. This preliminary headcount dragged on for 30 minutes, until another member of our group (which had grown to almost 50 people) cracked the shits and demanded that we get moving. She actually did that twice, but only the second time had enough fire in it! Our expected english speaking guide, had not yet turned up, so we tried to follow the crowd, and hoped that included us too. This saw us onto the bus, up to the top.
Machu Pichu – Looking towards Waynapicchu
Apparently the rest area of town
The main gate
There seems to be no roads leading into this village, only the train. So only the tour buses get to use the 1 street, and they ride it hard!
Once up, we got ushered through, after the second half of our group had arrived. We were still following the spanish speaking guide for some reason, and it was not until we got inside that we got placed with the english guide. He took us around the site, and showed us the main spots. This went on from about 6:15 until 7:45 or so, when Sara and I split, and decided that we should climb Waynapicchu, the mountain you see in the background of most postcards. It is a lot steeper than we gave it credit for and pretty slippery too. Sooo many steps, but we made it to the summit and it was a fantastic view.
from the summit of Waynapicchu
Waynapicchu – en route down
Machu Picchu from Waynapicchu
A shaky descent on Waynapicchu
We also went to the Inka Drawbridge (luckily for Sara, we couldnt cross it). The drawbridge is a path carved into the face of a massively steep mountain cliff face (no photos we took seemed to be able to convey just how steep and tall this area is). It was also very impressive. Unfortunately, we nearly had a disagreement with an alpaca on the way back from the drawbridge. The path there was quite narrow and the alpaca didnt want to budge to let us past. Luckily neither party was injured and an amicable overtaking agreement was reached.
The Inka Bridge
After having to purchase some very expensive water to sustain us, we decided to head back down to Aguas Calientes for some slightly cheaper lunch.
After burning some time, we caught our train home at 7pm. We were lucky enough to be treated to a fashion show en route… after serving our snack, the waiter and waitress went out back and got changed into various alpaca outfits which of course we could purchase if we wanted.
On the Machu Picchu train… our waiter, waitress (& models) and other entertainer