Aguas Calientes, Cuzco, Peru Friday, June 26, 2015
Today is here, the main reason of this trip, visiting Machu Picchu. An early start this morning waking up at just before 5am so we could get a shower and some food before breakfast. We were lucky at only having to get up at 5am, as Hannah (the only one of our group to do the Inca trail) had to get up at 3am to be able to trek in for sunrise.
We arrived at the bus station just after 5am only to find a line been a couple of hundred meters long. As it turns out, they appeared to be quite use to that and had a series of about 25 buses that just rotated between Machu Picchu and the town so the line moved rather quickly.
We took a windy road up in a zig zag pattern to the top of the mountain along the way coming across a number of other buses on their way down, it was impressive to see the bus drivers knew exactly how far to reverse up to give enough room for the other drivers to pass.
Arriving at the top there wasn't much to see as it was just surrounded by trees. We made our way up through the entrance, Trent was stopped on his way in as he was carrying a blanket which they wouldn't let him take in, it's sad, as he brought it specifically for Machu Picchu, he ended up having to leave it in a lock up until he left. We continued up the path and then the moment the trees were gone we could all see what we had come to see... The beauty of The Machu Picchu ruins.
Machu Picchu means 'Old Mountain', that's as long as you pronounce Picchu correctly with the second C in it, if you don't, then it means something else completely.
The views of Machu Picchu were amazing, hard to believe it was created when it was. Even these days they would find it hard to create Machu Picchu they way it is to be able to withstand the tests of time that Machu Picchu has. In saying that, when they discovered Machu Picchu back in 1911 it was completely covered in trees and other plants, it wasn't until 1912 that they came back with a crew to start uncovering the true beauty. The discoverer fm got National Geographic and other companies involved to preserve the place, and I'm so glad he did. Not only is it a fantastic view, it's has also created hundreds of jobs for the locals purely from the tourism.
Bruno visiting Machu Picchu was able to complete his final 7 Wonders of the world, for me this is my first. We made a sign up for him prior to the Trek so we could get a photo of him for his Facebook page, I have to admit I'm a little jealous he's seen all of them, but hey, I still have time.
After a guided tour of the ruins by a guy who's voice sounded like a computer (according to Trent) we were left to explore on our own. Bruno and I made our way up the Sungate, the first view point of Machu Picchu for those that did the Inca trail, it was about a 40 minute hike to the top and while it was a pretty amazing view over the valley and the ruins, I felt there were better views further down.
We headed back down, passing a few of the other guys heading up. We found a great spot overlooking the ruins and we decided we would try and get some of our classic shots (handstand and jumping), as we were about to take the handstand shot a security guys stopped is and said we couldn't do it. We decided to get some other shots instead, some of which were the jumping shots we have done at other places. The guard came back and started telling us off again saying the he had told us we couldn't do that, Bruno said, "No.. You said we couldn't do handstands", "It's the same thing" said the guard. Disappointed we walked off to another view spot, which actually ended up looking like a better view anyway.
The guard was keeping an eye on us from that point and told other guards to watch us too, in saying that, we weren't the only people they stopped from taking photos doing things like that. From our new view point we sat for a which taking in the view and just relaxing. Feeling really annoyed that I couldn't do the classic handstand photo I took a look around and didn't see any security around. Quickly chucking my stuff to the side Bruno was able to grab a photo of me doing one and we quickly grabbed our stuff and made our way towards the exit. Spotting the guard we tried to head off in another direction to look like we were just taking photos. He walked off in another direction and we made our way again towards the exit. As we headed down the stairs a security guy called out to me trying to get me to stop, I just continued on and pretended I didn't hear him. We had seen earlier that they had made people delete the photos, but stuff it.
We headed out, got our passport stamp showing we had been to Machu Picchu, and headed back down the hill to meet the others for lunch before our train ride back to Ollantaytambo before our 2 hour van trip back to Cusco.
Our trips back on the train and bus were pretty uneventful, which is good as we were all rather tired from the days adventure, I did notice the sunset on the van ride back and thought it looked pretty cool, so spent about 5 minutes trying to get a picture, every time I went to get one, the van turned around a corner making it rather hard to get one in the right spot, in the end, I got something, but no where as good as I had hoped.
We got back to our Cusco Hotel and headed to our rooms where we showered, repacked our backs and got our dirty laundry ready before heading out for a meal with a few of the others... Tonight we feast on Guinea Pig.
We headed to 'El Mesón de Don Tomas' for dinner, a restaurant suggested to us by our guide Lucho. We sat down and tried to order our meals, at the time of ordering a band started up playing there music, making it really hard to hear or try and explain what we wanted. Our meals came out and the Guinea Pigs had been presented especially so we could see they were guinea pig, they took them away and then prepared them for us to eat.
Once the meals were ready and dug in. It's hard to say exactly what it tastes like, people have told me it tastes like chicken, I didn't get that. It had the texture of Chicken, but a similar taste to duck, but a slightly salty taste to it. I was not only surprised as to how nice it tasted, but also how filling it was. Most of us struggled to finish our meals as they were so filling. We payed our bill and made our way back to the hotel in the freezing cold night, it's amazing how the temperature can change in a matter of an hour or so, from 20-30 degrees to 4 degrees. Not good when your wearing shorts or t-shirts, but we were able to warm up a little but getting a little bit of a job on up the hill.
Where I stayed
Cusco Plaza Nazarenas - Calle Saphi 486, Cusco, Peru
I rated this place 4/5 - Internet works but noisy in the morning
Internet at this place seems to work well, each room has its own shower and toilet and breakfast is available in the mornings as well. Only problem is if your planning on getting a sleep in from a night out on the town, chances are slim. The tiled floors and the big enclosed areas that your room surrounds makes it an echo chamber. As lots of tour groups come through here it can get a little noisy.