Saturday 13th October. Arrived back to Cuzco late yesterday, after our two day expedition to Machu Picchu. We caught the train at Poroy – slightly dissappointed that you no longer do the zig-zagging through the Cuzco suburbs – all part of the smartening up and safety improvements to enhance the tourists experience. The main part of the three and half hour journey through the ‘sacred valley’ of the river Urubamba was every bit as exhilarating as I remember – it is, after all, one of the great railway journeys of the world!
Once in Aguas Callientes we walked the short distance to the Green Nature hotel – perfectly adequate and well located. We spent the afternoon securing our bus tickets and doing a little birding along the river out of town – we saw Highland Motmot and Torrent duck performing their under-water gymnastics. We ate and went to bed ready for our five o’clock start. The breakfast, which was served from 4.30am for those intent on getting into Machu Picchu in time for the sun-rise, was substantial and a good ‘base’ for the physical exertion that lay ahead. On arrival we headed towards the Sun Temple to enjoy crowd-free views across Machu Picchu towards our target, Wayna Picchu – that spike of a mountain that you see in the background of every photograph of the place. They allow 200 people to climb the peak in two shifts, allowing three hours for the return journey. If you make it to the top and the mist clears you can get fabulous veiws of the whole mountain landscape, with Machu Picchu below you. We did make it up and were lucky enough to have brief views through the vale of mist. The climb was pretty severe (as was the descent) but the effort was well worth it and truly breathtaking, in all senses of the word.
After a welcome lunch stop, during which it poured down, we re-entered the site and visited the places we’d missed in the morning. We joined the mid-afternoon queue for the return buses and spent the rest of the afternoon chilling in Aguas Callientes before catching the 5.30 train back to Poroy. During the journey we where entertained by Sue doing a bit of dancing with one of the ‘locals’!
Today we’re off to a local lake for a bit more ‘self-found’ birding and then tomorrow, up at the crack of dawn for our four day expedition in to the Amazon…!
A loco passing through the main street of Aguas Callientes
An early morning view across Machu Picchu towards Wayna Picchu
On the accent….only another 527 steps to go!
The view of Machu Picchu from the top..well almost
And now for the descent. These people seem to be having the colly-wobbles – can’t see why!
A couple of views of Machu Picchu
Sue’s dancing partner…