At 5 am sharp I was up and ready to rock. The train was due at 6.40 to take me from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, which is at the base of Machu Picchu. My hotel was literally on the train platform, very handy.
The train journey is beautiful and chilled, aside for one guy jumping off whilst it was still moving to change the tracks so we wouldn’t have a head on collision.
At around 8 we got to AC, and headed straight for the buses, through a small market. The route takes you over the river, which was nice, but further downstream had some massive rocks. Naturally, I saw the opportunity to pose.
Halfway down the queue I realised I didn’t have tickets and they have to be purchased back up the hill. I ran off to grab them and my place was saved. I got the return tickets and ran back, I was lucky that a school of kids were next in line behind us, cos there was 2 places left on our bus and they obviously had to go together. I hopped on and started a breathtaking ascent.
I worked my way through hordes of tourists and entered the famed citadel, this place is amazing. It is a beautiful place and fully deserving of its ‘Wonder of the World’ status.
Maybe the bus journey didn’t help, but I had decided not to do the 1 hour hike due to time constraints, which felt a little silly now at 9.30, with the train back not due until 14.30.
Not to be wasteful, I finished some morning beers and headed back to Aguas Calientes.
I hiked up a railway track for 30 minutes, eventually choosing to slide down a dirt bank (great fun) to meet the road below next to the river.
Aguas Calientes literally translate to ‘hot water’, and its main attraction is a natural spring bathing spot. Its sounds good, but I had heard bad things. To be sure, I headed up towards the springs, low and behold they were a filfthy tourist trap. Don’t go. Up at 4 tomorrow for a 12 hour journey to Puno, so bed time now.