We said goodbye to Hostal Magico at 7:15am this morning, although they still have our bags. We decided to pack pretty light in the day pack I brought since the weather forecast i found on the internet was for low 70’s and 0% chance of percipitation.
The train ride through rural Peru on Peru Rail was great, and we got to see the real Peru outside of the street vendors and western brands. The one thing we continued to see in Cuzco and throughout our train ride was dogs. Geez, they’re running around everywhere. We might have seen more dogs on the train ride than actual people in the Peruvian countryside.
Cade is proving to be a good travel companion, but he does find a way to nap constantly. I probably woke him up 3 or 4 times while on the train so he could see some snow covered peak or another pack of mangey dogs.
A couple thugs I noticed about the train ride:
1). The snack they served of quinoa and roasted potatoes was really good. Even Cade commented on the tastiness
2). The train moves really slow. I swear it should have taken only about 90 minutes, but instead took 3.5 hours. I don’t think our guy ever found the gas pedal.
3). The train tracks in Peru are really close together…no, I mean really close. Sort of felt like we were Shaq ice skating on razor blades: it just didn’t feel stable.
We arrived in the town of Aguas Calientes around noon, and quickly realized that it was raining out. And not just a normal sort of rain, but a Bubba Gump shrimp boat kind of rain. Couple that with the fact that we once again had no idea where our hotel was, and you can imagine the stress it took on the Lau Amazing Race team. Luckily this town is built right at the base of these sheer granite wall mountains, with the river creating another boundary for us, so it isn’t a big place.
After some prodding to get Cade to just start asking people, we finally arrived at the Presidente Hotel. When I originally booked it and looked at the reviews I felt like it was a perfect one-night stay kind of place for us: inexpensive, loud, smelly, and rude service where some of the review comments I read. When we opened the door to find a lobby filled with soaking wet people, my immediate fear was that either rooms were not ready yet or they were oversold. We walked right up to the uninterested desk clerk and Cade told him our name. To my astonishment he found our name and handed us a key. Next thing we know we’re in our room and this is what we find:
We spent the day exploring the small hidden town of Aguas Calientes, and had our first real Peruvian meal for lunch, Loma Saltano (a beef, rice, and french fry dish). Later we had a nice dinner overlooking the river, and I tried an Alpaca steak and Cafe had some pork loin dish wrapped in bacon.
Tomorrow is our big day in Machu Picchu where we get to visit the famous ruins (still one of the 7 Man Made Wonders of the World). Have to be up at 5am, so trying to get to bed. Good night all.
P.S. – I found out late in the day while reconnected to the internet that there’s a very nice town in Mexico, Aguascalientes, that had GREAT weather today.