The morning started early for us, as we were catching a 7:42am Peru Rail train to Machu Picchu. The streets in the morning were much quieter than the night before as we found that being three blocks from Plaza de Armas has it’s advantages and disadvantages. We have a small balcony, so I snapped a rather uninspiring picture of the street scene.
The train station was filled with tourist, and I snapped a picture for a young couple who traveled 23 hours from Malaysia a few days earlier, and they were nice enough to return the favor.
The three hour train ride was rather uneventful, as Nate played some games on his phone, and I read and snoozed. We arrived in Aguas Calientes around 10:30, checked into our hotel, and headed out to the ruins. The crowds in the late morning are certainly different than the early morning, as only four others were on the bus that took us up the windy road up to the ruins. Realize that the ruins are at almost 8,000 feet, yet the town of Aguas Calientes is at about 6,700, so the buses take an elaborate switchback one-lane road up and back. These are some of the most talented bus drivers in the world for sure.
I decided to get a guide for Nate and I, so we could learn more about the ruins. It cost me 50 soles each for our two hour tour, but our guide was great and really gave us insights that Cade and I missed the last time. It was great to learn about the construction in the 1400′s, and that about 1,000 people lived there at its height, and that it was inhabited for only about 100 years (which explains why much of the site was left still unfinished). We were lucky not to get any rain while there, although it was cloudy most of the time. I found it amazing the differences in all the people visiting the ruins (one man carrying his newborn in his arms, another eldery Lady from India dressed in traditional dress, and a lady in her high heel boots climbing around on the tiny stone stairs).
My favorite part of the day was sitting on one of the high grassy terraces, overlooking Machu Picchu, and having Nate continually asking when we’re going to leave (the impatience of a teenager who would rather hang out in a hotel room than at one of the Wonders of the World). I lingered a little longer than he wanted, but less than I wanted, so I feel like we both gave a little.
Some pictures are below.