Thursday, November 27, 2014

Traveling from Machu Picchu to Cusco

 It was another interesting night; we’ve discovered that there is a Karaoke Bar below us and the music plays until well past two o’clock in the morning.  To top it off after being so very careful with long sleeves and long pants yesterday; there was one of the dreaded tiny black flies in the room last night and I now have bites on my face and right arm….a dozen of them!  Like mosquito bites…not dangerous they say, just itchy!

By 6:30 am we were up and finished our packing.  Down to breakfast by 7:30 we enjoyed the company of three young ladies; two from France and one from Germany.  They’d climbed to the top of our mountain yesterday and shared their “hairy” tales with us; including that there were some people who’d climbed all the way up and then cried when they realized what they were going to have to do to get off of the mountain.   The down was much scarier than going up they said.  All three agreed that we were wise to stop when we did and that confirmed that we’d done the right thing.   We checked out of the hotel by 8:30 am and stored our three backpacks at the hotel for a few hours.

We walked towards the market area near the train to find something to take home.  I ended up with a refrigerator magnetic and Jim negotiated a great price on a small piece of Amethyst.  We walked in a new area near the train and found an absolutely beautiful hotel.  And, since the trains don’t run at night it would also be quiet!   Probably very expensive but beautiful.   I went inside and got a card so that I can look it up on the Internet for friends who might be going to visit Machu Picchu.

Soon it was about nine o’clock and we still had lots of time; out train doesn’t leave until 2:30 pm.  We found an empty bench overlooking the river that courses down the center of the village and watched the workers push cart after cart up the hill to the various restaurants and hotels.  There were propane gas canisters, huge bags of wheat, cases of beer, hundreds of bottles of water and sodas, etc.  You’re either going up or down in this town as there are very few level spaces with the exception of the soccer field.   Everything has to be brought in by train and it is at the bottom of the gorge; from there everything is moved with hand carts up to where it has to go. 

The sun was shining and it was getting warm on the bench so we walked back up to the hotel and got out our computers and books for a couple of hours.   Then back to the bench for more people watching and we also ate some of our snacks that we’d brought with us from Cusco.

Finally at one o’clock we checked in to the train station…had to show our tickets and passports to get inside.  There were benches, restrooms and refreshment stands there.  At 2:15 pm they announced the trains and we boarded our Inca Rail train for the hour and a half journey back to Ollantaytambo.   There were several tour groups so they easily filled the five cars on the train.  In talking with one of the passengers we learned that one of the tour groups was Overseas Adventure Travel; one of our favorites.  We had assigned seats and had no idea who would be sharing out table.   Soon they arrived; Michelle and Steve from Michigan.  
We never seemed to run out of conversation.  Steve is a twin…identical, but I didn’t hold that against him!  Twins always love meeting other twins!   They have a daughter back home and talked about what fun it was to FaceTime with her this morning.  Steve is headed home soon and Michelle is staying in Lima for a conference.  We shared experiences on climbing the mountains yesterday.  They were unable to get tickets for the one we climbed so went up the big tall mountain that is called Machu Picchu instead.  They got a late start and were disappointed when they found out that they were too late to go to the top; it closed early in order to get everyone down in a timely manner.  So, like us, they had wonderful photos but can’t say that they reached the top.  The big difference is that they are young enough to come back someday and make it to the top!

We said our goodbyes and headed for one of the many bus/vans waiting for passengers heading for Cusco.  They’d pre-ordered a taxi so had an easier, but much more expensive, ride into Cusco where they are spending the night.  We had to wait half an hour for the next train to arrive before we had a full bus but for ten soles each (about $3.00) it was worth the wait.  A taxi will cost you anywhere from fifty to more than a hundred depending on how well you negotiate with the driver.  Took a few photos along the way including a sunset for the slideshow.  
By 6:30 pm we were back in Cusco and walked the three block to our hotel; good to stretch the legs, and then enjoyed a big smile on the clerk when they saw us arrive.  Unpacked the bags and organized the room before heading to the restaurant where we each enjoyed a beer.  I ordered a Hawaiian Pizza to share with Jim and he also ordered an omelet that came with rice.  Perfect amount of food.
It’s going on ten o’clock and I’m looking forward to a quiet sleep and relaxing day tomorrow. 

Hope you enjoy the few photos in the slideshow and that each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day today with family and loved ones.

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