Travel Journal

Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes)

(Monday 6 June 2011) by Timo and Jon
From Cusco we had an early start... 5.30am wake-up as we had a train to catch! Expedition 33 from Poroy to Aguas Calientes. To get to Poroy we booked a bus ticket but a car arrived instead and whisked us and another couple of travellers to the station in good time.:-)

Poroy is a very organised train station and 10 minutes before departure we were called to the platform and staff wearing immaculate suits 'checked us in'. The train itself was tastefully modern, with roof windows so it was possible to see the mountains as they appeared whilst we were leaning back in our seats. The journey took 3 hours, lots of evidence of landslides and recent mudslips (which resulted in Machu Picchu being closed last year for a few months). The scenery changed constantly and we saw how some of the locals (campesinos) make their living, or just manage to get by. The train itself was very comfortable and the staff offered snack and drinks throughout from thier minibar station.:-p

Aguas Calientes also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, is pretty much here for serving the tourists' needs though there is some element of local life remaining. A lively market, the elderly women dress in traditional Peruvian style (see one of the photos!). Our first task here was to buy next-day tickets to the Park of Miachu Picchu itself and the bus tickets to get to the park. This was done in about 5 minutes...there doesn't seem to be many tourists here at all...certainly we expected a bit more of a crowded atmosphere, but we prefer it less crowded anyway!! B-)

Next morning we awoke early - had a quick breakfast, hopped on the bus (which was full) and arrived at the entrance to Machu Picchu. 2430 metres above sea level, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built around 1450 at the height of the Inca Empire. Soon after it was abandoned and rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham an American historian. Knowledge of Machu Picchu is rather sketchy and there are several suggestions as to why it was created in the first place. Whatever the reason is, the quality of the stonework tells that is was (and still is) a vitally important ceremonial centre. For example, a president's inauguration was held there in 2001.|:-)

We spent most of the day, which turned out to be much sunnier and warmer than we expected, trekking around the huge site to gain a better of view of it from all angles and the trek to the Inca Bridge was along narrow paths with sheer drops on one side. There are countless amounts of big leg-stretching steps (which we can feel today as we write this journal!). This was a place we have planned to visit for such a long time and to have finally visited was well worth the wait and the travelling to get here. :-^

If you haven't been yet, then put it on your list of places to visit...highly recommended!0:-)

  • Shame on you by Cousin Katy
    • 3 days to trek? by Jon AND Timo
  • tinde by Juki
    • Kuvat by Jon AND Timo.

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