Before we went into our half day tour, we had to check out and leave our big bags at the hotel. The trip to Machu Picchu on the train only allowed small bags.
The weather was lovely but cool so we did have jumpers on. A few people had been struggling with the altitude since arriving and were chewing coca leaves, coca gum, coca chocolate. I had a slight headache but was just drinking most of water to combat it.
We jumped on the bus, and weaved up many small streets and having to go around parades occuring a around the city for the celebration of winter solice. Our first stop was a place with an incredible view of the city, we only stopped here shortly before heading in to Saqsaywaman, pronounced similar to ‘sexy woman’ Cindy and I and many in our group chuckled like school children whenever it was spoken about.
Saqsaywaman is described as a fortress but was actually a temple built by the Inca’s, not much remains as when the Spanish came they destroyed as much as they could and used the materials to build the city. It’s crazy to see what’s actually left standing – the size of the Rock walls is insane and the fact that they had to be moved from over 30kms a way without the technology today is crazy. The last theory was that they put ropes around each large rock and would have hundreds of men on either side and pulling the rock side to side and slowly move the site to be erected.
We would have liked to have spent more time here but we then went to a shop where they showed us how they make their famous alpaca garments and other things and how to spot fake alpaca gear… It reminded us of when we were in Egypt, when we were taken to a shop to be ‘shown’ something and then be allowed to buy from them the genuine product they were selling.
Cindy and I made use of their bathroom before getting on the bus to wait for the few that did buy something.
In a lot of ways the tourism reminds me of Egypt as there are so many locals who come up to you to try sell their ‘local goods’ thankfully they leave you alone after you say no. When we were all on the bus we headed to the giant Jesus statue (can’t remember the name), we were extremely lucky that the local guide let some guy on the bus to flog us some ‘Excellent production, hours and hours of Great footage of Saqsaywaman and Machu Picchu’ for a great price… Cindy and I were in the back row of the bus making cheeky remarks to other back row friends…
Giant Jesus statue gave some more great sites of the city. We left there and went back to town for lunch and then a long bus ride to the train station to go to Machu Picchu. We didn’t have time to go to the cathedrals but have tickets for them when we come back to Cusco.
We found a little restaurant and I tried a Peruvian burger which was nice, Cindy had breaded chicken. Cindy asked for lemonada, thinking it would be Sprite… Oh no, it was some lemon/creamy/watery drink that was okay but not great. She’s learnt just to ask for Sprite.
After lunch we went back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and walked up the hill to meet the small bus. Cusco has stopped big buses coming in to town as they are just too big for the roads. So we had to get on the little bus and drive to the big bus. When we met the big bus and jumped on, we happened to watch a fight between two older ladies. They were yelling and grabbing each other’s hair and pulling and slapping each other… They stopped and were yelling at each other and we thought it was finished but then another lady jumped down from a ledge at one of the ladies and grabbed her hair and it started again until a brave local man got between them as they continued to yell at each other. It was quite amusing for us all wondering what had happened…
The bus trip out was long around 2 hours – I ended up napping but Cindy stayed awake and took photos. Its amazing to see so many old ruins littering mountains, seems like Peru also imported Eculalyptus trees from Australia like Chile. I think our ones look much healthier.
We got to the train with a little time left and had seats together which was nice. The train was quite nice with big windows (in the roof too). It was awesome to see the change in the landscape from more farms to more forest. The tracks went between these massive mountains, following a flowing river which is the start of the Amazon River.
When we arrived to Machu Picchu, we had a short walk to the hotel which was massive and checked in, they split the group up and as we were the youngest we were further away…
The room was lovely, I was a little disappointed there was no bathtub.
We met the group for some drinks in the bar and then went to dinner. The meals were very fancy looking. For an entree I had a salad and Cindy had a soup. When they bought Cindy’s soup out it was literally a few veges and croutons on a plate, we were wondering what it was Cindy had actually ordered, then the waiter poured my soup from a little gravy boat into my plate. She was slightly relieved to tell you the truth.
For our main meals, I had a slow roasted pork with a local Peruvian sauce and veges, Cindy had a chicken curry which was apparently absolutely delicious. Cindy had been dying for a good curry and was looking forward to New York to get one, but was really happy to have one for dinner. To finish off for dessert, I had an after 8 mint chocolate slice and Cindy had some handmade vanilla ice cream, which everyone on the table gave her a hard time about as the menu was delicious. One of the men in the group who ran a bit with Cindy during the marathon, Tom, got a choc egg/coffee dessert and shared half the choc egg with Cindy. We also shared a bottle of wine with Tom and a few others on the table.
We then went back to our room, as it was getting late and we had another early morning planned for Friday – our visit to the Machu Picchu ruins!