Wednesday, August 26, 2009

South America 2009 - Day 14 (8/20/2009) - Machu Picchu

Our tour operator was at our hostel around 6:00 AM to take us to the train station in Poroy. She had paid us a visit the night to give us our tour packets and some information - including reiterating the fact that Peru Rail does not allow luggage over 5 kg, though she said we could carry more on if we paid a fee. Because of this, and a dream that he had that night, Greg repacked his medium sized bag, and took that along with his smaller day pack, while leaving his big bag in storage at the hostel. I, however, only had a big bag and a day pack, so I took both.

It turned out not to be such a big deal. There were other people with big bags, and even a couple with suitcases. I was not charged any extra for my bag, and I was able to store it on the overhead rack. The train ride on the backpacker train from Poroy to Aguas Calientes took about 3 hours (8-11), and mostly followed a river for the second half (after Ollantaytambo). When we arrived in Aguas Calientes, we found our tour guide (Mario), and he directed us to the bus station, where we took the bus up to Machu Picchu. We had to take all our bags with us, and stored them in lockers by the entrance. Mario then showed us around Machu Picchu for a couple of hours, and then we had some time to explore on our own. We were satisfied with our exploration at around 3 PM, at which point we bought entrance tickets for the next day (2nd day entrance was not included in the tour) so we could climb Huayna Picchu, collected our bags, and took the bus back down to Aguas Calientes.

We found our hotel with help from the bus driver (who was kind enough to double back and drop us in front of it), then checked in. We then walked back to the central area of town and found a restaurant to have a late lunch/early dinner. I had the cebiche de trucha (trout ceviche), which is roughly a Peruvian equivalent to sushi - the fish is eaten raw. For dessert I had a pancake with ice cream - I was expecting a crepe (even though the name said pancake), but it was an actual pancake. After eating, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the early start the next morning.

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