Machu Picchu

Added 11 Sep 2014

This morning we join our Inca Rail train service from the town of Ollantaytambo. The 90 minute rail trip is spectacular with agricultural lowlands giving way to river gorges and mountain views and as we approach our destination, to cloud forest. We disembark in the bustling town of Aguas Calientes, the starting point for visits to Machu Picchu. You may walk up the mountain from the town but this takes a few hours so we opt for the regular bus service. However to get to the bus stop we must walk through a market, which proves to be a challenge. Too many nice goods and souvenirs to tempt visitors to browse. Luckily we do not lose anyone and we are promptly aboard the bus service. The road up the mountain is quiet interesting! Sharp bends, narrow, cliff edges and the buses are running both ways! Some guests are either asleep or have eyes closed! The bus drivers seem very experienced and obviously follow some etiquette as regards passing places. We make it successfully.

We have timed our arrival well and pass through the citadel entry system without delay. Visits to Machu Picchu are quota controlled to make it more comfortable and to protect the historic site from undue wear and tear. We take a path to the left which involves some effort and some stops for breath on the way, however the rewards are great because we can see almost the entire site from our first viewpoint. And what a view! Absolutely stunning. Our guides, Hanny and James are with us and they escort an interesting walk around the highlights. Afterwards we are free to explore unaccompanied and choose our own return to Aguas Calientes. No brochure, photo or video can transmit the wonder of Machu Picchu. Being there yourself is simply remarkable. Especially since we have stunning weather, yet again!

Later we all get together again at Aguas Calientes train station for our return trip to Ollantaytambo. From here our private coaches return us to the comfort of our luxurious hotel, Tambo del Inka. What a wonderful day.