Cusco to Machu Picchu to Cusco, Saturday, 5 January 2013 to Monday, 7 January 2013, Day 186 to Day 188

Wow its even better in real life 🙂

Philly finally made it to Machu Picchu yeah!

One of the main reasons for coming to South America was to see Machu Picchu. This had been a live long ambition of mine for as long as I can remember so I was a little disappointed when I woke up and it was pissing down and cold. Mmmm does not look good. Had my free breakfast at the Hostel and packed an overnight bag. As the weather was so poor I decided to wear me bike jacket and I had my waterproof trousers on as well so I was prepared for the worse. I said Tata to Daisy and headed to the Microbus station. 2 hours to Ollyantambo where I had to get a train which was another 1.5 hours a pleasant enough trip. The bus cost 6 bucks for 90km but the train cost 70 bucks for 60km Cor blimey guv they are screwing the tourists here but I was in the mind-set that this trip was going to be special and I was not going to let money spoil it, it will cost what it costs and my wallet was going to take a hammering for the next couple of days but this is a once in a lifetime experience.

Train to Aguas Caliente

The sun came out when I arrived at Agua Caliente the small service town for Machu Picchu and then I thought I had planned for bad weather and I had not really thought that the sun could shine and I did not have the appropriate kit with me so I would have to lug a huge bike jacket around and I had no spare clothes as I was not expecting it to be hot and sweaty mmmm great planning mate.

lugging huge bag due to bad planing 😦

Agua Caliente is a small village full of restaurant’s and hotels so finding somewhere to stay for a couple of nights was no problem so with that sorted of to buy a ticket for Phillys big day tomorrow. There are 2500 tickets available a day and I had checked yesterday and there was 1600 left so it was no problem getting a ticket. I wanted to get a ticket for one of the mountains either side but for these you need to book this weeks in advance and I am not that organised and I had no idea when I was going to hit this spot. I did get a ticket for Machu Picchu Mountain so some serious climbing will be done tomorrow. I went for a walk and I had seen all of the village in no time and I walked along the river as I had heard you could walk to Machu Picchu so instead of shelling out another small fortune for the bus. 20 minutes walk to a bridge across the river and then 1.5 hours hike straight up. So I did the 20 minutes and I saw the hill and decided that tomorrow I would be getting the bus sod the expense and I will do a load of walking at the top without killing myself before even I get there. Walked back to town and had dinner at a cheap Chinese I had found good feed and then I got some carrot cake at a French boulangerie the French guy had told me about and then back to my room as I had set the alarm for 5.30am for my big day. I had not brought my PC with me so I  was at a bit of a loss of what to do as my evening rituals for the last 6 month revolved around my PC sad I know but I did have my Kindle so was reading an autobiography of Rafael Nadal called Rafa. Interesting and boring at the same time which is a weird combination but the bloke who wrote this pulled it off as have I with this blog mostly boring but with the odd interesting bit thrown in or is it just mostly boring!

  

Up at the crack of dawn down to the bus station and before I knew it I was entering Machu Picchu and the weather was good. So after wanting to be here for so long was it disappointing nope exactly how I imagined it so far so good. I Wander round near the entrance area trying to get away from the masses and thenI  head up Machu Picchu mountain as I was hoping few people would be there and I was right. The guy at the entrance to this walk said it would take 1 hour and 20 minutes and I made in exactly that time which felt good as it was up hill and steps all the way so lots of breaks to get my breath back as we are at altitude. Talking of altitude so far I have not had to much trouble with it except for the first night in Puquiro I was a bit short of breath and had trouble catching my breath and woolly mouth syndrome so some slight effects but as I took things slow and easy no problem and I have no problem with slow and easy 🙂

Slow and easy does it!

I met a nice Korean family on the way up and they gave me a Korean Power Bar which was nice and of course they insisted on having there photo taken with me as if I was some kind of celebrity. The top was at 3000 meters and there where great views over Machu Picchu and all the way up so I am taking loads of pictures. I had my breakfast up there and finished my water supply for the day oops. Going down was not that easy as the steps I had come up were quite steep and small and uneven.

      

      

 

Met a lot people coming up who kept asking me how far it is to the top and they look in worse shape than I did so considering I have not done any serious exercise in 6 months I am not in  bad condition and glad I got up there before it got to busy and that I was on my way downhill not up 🙂

I got back to Machu Picchu and had a little lie down as I had just done 3 plus hours hard climbing and then the next plan was to top up my water supply so headed back to the entrance to get a drink which cost a small fortune (5USD) I should have brought some more liquids with me but at least I had enough food as they where charging a fortune for that as well as they had the monopoly up here on what they could charge.

Back amongst the tourist blah!

      

      

      

So rehydrated and rested time to take a look at Machu Picchu up close as it was brilliant from up high and as it turns out it was quite brilliant close up the downside was that it was quite busy I would prefer to see the place on me own without other tourist but hey that is a big ask.

So after 8 hours wandering around this gorgeous place I was knackered so time to say goodbye and head back to my hotel. Funny thing was it had been pissing down in the village whereas up the mountain at Machu Picchu it was bone dry and been a gorgeous day weather wise all day.

Difficult in getting a shot without other tourist in it!

I got back to the hotel for a nap and they kindly informed me that they needed my room and could I move to another hostel. Short answer could I bollocks I was staying put. Strange conversation but in the end I was certainly not moving.

I had a nap and then to a nice square where I had a pizza and an Inca Cola my new addiction. Expensive but exactly what I needed then I spotted Alex and Andrea who had just arrived so I took them to the Chinese I went to last night and caught up with there recent adventures and then back to the room where I finished reading about Rafa and then moved on to Winston Churchill the only interruption was the owner knocking on my door asking to be paid for the room at 10pm which was strange but being asked to be move to another hostel was also strange.

Early start again as I had an early train to Ollantaytambo another pleasant train journey spent an hour or so wandering round the village which was nice as there was some sort of religious celebration going on in the main square as well.

Mean streets of Ollantaytambu!

Colourful festival!

     

I got a Micro taxi back to Cusco and the Hostel and I ended going out for dinner with 4 other bikers that where staying there.

Harry English 2 years on the road on a Diesel Royal Enfield

Glen Australian 1.5 years on the road or more on a Chinese bike brought locally in Peru

Miccu (I think) Japanese not sure how long on the road on a Suzuki DR400, which he had just dropped in a river so, he was waiting for new parts

Jasper Denmark not sure how long he had been on the road on a KLR650 his opening statement to me was why would any one bother bringing a bike from Europe as he had brought his in the US and was of the opinion that was the only and best way to do it. Arrogant Tosser.

We where looking for a curry house but this was closed so ended up in another nice place called Jacks Place and a pleasant evening as usual tall biker stories.

So that was my Machu Picchu trip I could call it quits now as I it was one of the main reasons for this trip but I guess there still loads more to see. I am happy that it lived up to my expectations as many a time these place look great in the brochure but not in reality well this one was better in reality I had a fantastic couple of days 🙂

Loads more excellent pictures on SmugMug just click on the  Smugmug ICON in the top right hand corner

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