James & Christine Round the World 2008 travel blog

Train to Machu Picchu

The valley & train at Machu Picchu

Main square & group of the three doorways

One of the three windows temple

Astronomical observatory

Temple zone

Agricultural zone & Guardhouse

Sun gate

Waynapicchu, traditional view

The clouds lifted

Alpaca

Market at township


The alarm goes off at 4:45 as we are leaving at 5:20 to catch the train.

It's a four hour train journey followed by a 30 minute bus ride to get there.

The train initially climbs a few thousand feet on a zig zag track before heading through the mountains some of which rise to over 25,000 feet. Although it is only 114 kilometres the speed is very slow and the incline steep over passes and into valleys.

The bus eventually climbs the last 1,000 feet and as we are surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, rivers and passes the rain comes down.

We are finally there but must confess to initial disappointment and we are high up in the clouds and much of the views we have seen in books are concealed. It is the rainy season so we were expecting it and the advantage is that there are not so many people although there were still enough. It was a fine mist and a case of capturing the pictures as the cloud lifted not knowing what was to come.

Our guide showed us round and explained the inca history of the site and how Hiram Bingham found the site and sent most of the artefacts back to the US.

I know the time everyone says to see Machu Picchu is at sunrise but at this time of the year it is very rare due to the clouds and rain so we didn't feel we had missed out.

As the tour finished and we had a couple of hours free time the cloud lifted and although not sunny we saw it in all its glory. An amazing site and rightly one of the seven new wonders of the world.

We walked to the Guardhouse from where the famous view is seen and then on to the Inca bridge which is no more than a narrow ledge carved high into the vertical rock face and for obvious reasons now closed to the public.

We were both very pleased that altitude sickness did not affect us and while not climbing around like a mountain goat did manage some very steep climbs at quite a rate.

Unfortunately it was all too soon time to leave and catch the bus back to the rail station but first we managed to find a Machu Picchu stamp to add to the passport. Not a new country but certainly a place to remember.

The train ride back was interminably slow and although they tried to distract us with a fashion show of local Alpaca knitwear we took the hotels recommendation and hopped off at the last station to catch a bus back to Cusco. This knocked about 40 minutes off the journey.



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