Peru & Ecuador with the Theobalds travel blog

Our train to Machu Picchu

The river running alongside the railway

First sight of the citadel

Irene in the citadel

The sun temple.

Overmans keeping Machu Picchu safe from more tourists arriving by blocking the...

Just going to bed after a very tiring but exciting day.

Up at 5 to the sound of rain. Not something we have heard much of so far but we had to get packed and loaded up for the day we have been waiting for since the start of the trip. Driver picked us all up at 6 and drove us to the local train station. They have an incredible amount of stone block roads which makes for an uncomfortable journey. Only had one dodgy overtaking manoeuvre but as it was an ambulance I guess we can forgive them.

Arrived at the station and boarded our train still a bit of rain but we were hopeful that it would stop. The train was very narrow gauge and took a slow trip to Machu Picchu. 27 km in an hour and twenty minutes. Although normally this would be slow the sights were so incredible that we really enjoyed the journey. Half the carriage was full of Chinese tourists and the second carriage had no one in at all. Once we started the staff brought out complimentary drinks and cakes for the trip. As it had seemed to early to eat at the hotel we had brought pastries and fruit from there so we had a real feast. As we went along I decided that I needed the facilities. A queue had formed at the back of the train and so I joined it thinking it would not take long. In fact some people was using the toilet for a long time so I ended up sitting in the middle of the group of Chinese ladies who were doing their exercises. Whilst they were fairly mature their ability to bend was incredible. One lady brought her leg straight up past her head. Another chap was laughing at me as I tried to attempt the same and my leg only got up above my other knee!

The railway ran alongside the river which was nothing like the Loire and there were rapids along most of the way with some enormous boulders in the water. We decided that white water rafting was not for us particularly when we discovered that some of the towns still put raw sewage in the river. Fortunately we did not close enough to the water.

We arrived at Machu Picchu around 8:30 and was met by the guides who took our overnight bag to the hotel and we walked over to the bus terminus. In truth a stop on the roadside. We boarded the bus and started the trip to the citadel. Although it was only 25 minutes it was hairpin after hairpin as we rose about 700 metres from the riverside to the top of the mountain. It was made all the more frightening as we met the coaches coming down the road at far too regular intervals for our comfort. Once we arrived at the top we saw the first real sight of the citadel and great news the rain had stopped. There was still a lot of cloud cover but nice and warm without burning us. Machu Picchu is enormous and there is so much still standing. Our guide was really knowledgeable and took us round the site describing all of the details. He also showed us how to take panoramic pictures with our phones so we have some great pictures to show when we get back. Unfortunately they are about 20 Mb large so the internet connection we have at the moment will not let them upload onto the blog. Whilst we were going round we also photo bombed a lot of other tourists and managed to shut up a group of loud women who came into one of the buildings we were exploring at the time. The sun actually came out so we had to get suntan lotion on. One of our party did not get enough cream on her neck and now has a red ring. We have put some cream on it so hopefully will be better in the morning. All in all a fantastic day and place and this time of year it is relatively quiet so easy to explore.

After we had finished we took the bus back down to the hotel. It was one of the most difficult journeys as we were at the back of the bus and were thrown about as the bus was a lot quicker going down than going up. I felt quiet ill at times and was very pleased to get off when we arrived at the hotel we had lunch at. After lunch we walked to our hotel for the evening. To get there we had to walk alongside the railway and dodge a dumper truck that was being driven up the railway, delivering materials to a shop next to the railway. We then had to stop to let a train go past before we could enter the hotel grounds. I am fairly certain this would not be allowed anywhere in the UK. The hotel itself is lovely and we have been upgraded to a suite, which is very nice. We have been to the spa and used their outdoor sauna which is like a tent with dry eucalyptus leaves on the inside and grass on the outside. It then has heated stones in a central fire place which you splash water over by using eucalyptus branches and leaves. This is all done by the light of four candles -we laughed so much when the girl told us this but we couldn’t explain the joke!

After this we got changed and went to the restaurant. Food was really nice but I don’t think I can keep up the level of consumption that is being forced on us. Tomorrow we are going to see spectacle bears and have a orchid tour around the grounds of the hotel. The only downside is that we have now discovered Peruvian mosquitoes, or rather they have discovered me. Five bites on my legs today but fortunately not too big. We will see what tomorrow brings!

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