Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Tarzan way to Machu Picchu - part 3

On the way to the start of the hike on this last day of imitating Tarzan (everyone in the group had in fact voted to skip walking the 2-3 hours at the side of a normal road and go by car instead to a sport further up) we stopped to see quite a huge man-built waterfall.


And we stopped in a place where it said not to stop due to the risk of falling stones ! And as we watched the waterfall, we did indeed see falling rocks and stones in it and suddenly understood why the lady working there was sporting a construction helmet.


The hike itself was next to and on some train tracks that leads from Aguas Calientes. Not the train that tourists take, but a local version that only runs twice per day. Hence in the three or so hours we spent walking on it, we didn’t actually see any train and therefore could spend a lot of the time balancing on the wooden planks that made up the basis of the tracks.

Our guide pretending to fall from the bridge

It was in fact much more fun walking on these than on the simple path on the side, plus at some times it was in fact the only place to walk as we crossed a few bridges where you had to jump from one wooden plank to another with nothing below. At one point, I lost balance partly and was very close to fall off on the side, getting my adrenaline kick of the day and becoming a little bit less found of the tracks afterwards.


Luckily though, we did see some beautiful scenery with high mountains surrounding us to make me take my mind off my 'near-death' feeling, and, as we started to near to Aguas Calientes, we could see the Machu Picchu mountain and even a little bit of one of the ruins as the guide pointed it out for us.

It was suddenly very clear as to why the Spanish never found it. You have to go down that specific road, that didn’t exist back then, and look at the exact right spot to see anything. More or less impossible actually.

We lunched at another great restaurant. One that was regretfully infested with mosquitoes as they had a trout farm with standing water next to the restaurant. Luckily the food was worth the new bites, at least at the time. A a few days later as I scratched myself into insanity (yes, mum I know one shouldn’t scratch, but I have had too many bites these last months to resist anymore) I highly wished that I had skipped that lunch and stayed in the scorching sun.

Our guide 'fishing' some trouts


Making it to Aguas Calientes just as it started to poor down with rain, we ran to the hostel and went for a soak in some hot baths, before turning into very early pumpkins as we had to get up at 4am the next morning !! A very early start indeed, but necessary if we wanted to be one of the 400 people that make it up first and hence can get tickets to Waynapichu – the mountain overlooking the Machu Picchu for the ‘classical view’. Actually, we wanted to be among the first 200, half of the group goes up at 7am and half at 10am, and as it was rain period when it is more likely to rain and be cloudy in the early morning and as we had a guided tour from 6 to 8, we needed the 10 o’clock tickets.
With the Inkas in Aguas calientes

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