Machu Picchu and Beyond

Trip Start Aug 17, 2007
Trip End Sep 06, 2007

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Flag of Peru  ,
Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We have a group tour of this amazing site while Joachim explains the significance of the many temples and areas of the site (this involves a great many more stairs).  It is starting to get busier here now that the many tourists are arriving by bus from Aquas Calientes or coming back down from their walk to the Sun Gate..  We have about an hour to explore the site and take pictures on our own before me meet at the bus area for our bus ride down to Aquas Calientes.  The bus ride is 30 minutes of hair pin turns on a very tiny roadway.  I am now too tired to even worry about the precarious roadway view and I am thinking about lunch in a restaurant and being dry and warm. 

We meet up with everyone at Pacha Mama's Restaurant which turns out to be a delightful restaurant that specializes in pizza.  I am very excited when I see the pizza oven .  Pizza and beer is just what I want.  We go upstairs to a cozy room with wonderful masks and murals on the wall, great decor.  The pizza is amazing, the beer is pretty wonderful too and we are all in a celebratory mood.  After lunch we have about  90 minutes to explore the tourist village before our train arrives.  Our departure via train will be right outside our restaurant, what a bonus when you have lots of luggage!

Al and I set off on foot to explore the area off of the Main Plaza.  It is a delightful touristy town full of cute shops, colorful restaurants and more signs advertising laundry services, Internet cafes,  and massage parlors then I have ever seen in my life.  They really know what we want after a four day hike through the mountains. Al and I act the tourist role, I take his picture with the Inca statue, he takes mine with the Inca warrior, we enjoy the sites and smells of the plaza.  This is the most carefree that I have felt in four days.   Soon we head back to the restaurant to grab our luggage and head for our railway car.

This is our first train ride in Peru and it is glorious.  Even though I am tired I try to stay awake to enjoy the scenery as it goes by.  Eventually we see our starting point, km 82, it seems like such a long time ago when we set out on the trail.  I am wishing that we were going to stay on the train all the way to Cusco but apparently this would be the slow route. After an hour and a half we transfer to our own bus for the remainder of the trip back to Cusco.  Our driver plays some tunes for us, we stop for beer which we can drink on the bus and really enjoy the scenery all the way back to Cusco.  Some of the mountain views are lovely and I try to take pictures from the bus window. 

It is late afternoon when we arrive back at our hotel in Cusco.  Showers and clean clothes are at the top of our list of needs.  This hotel did not look that good before we left on our hike, now it looks like heaven.  We close our door, drop our bags, start peeling off clothes and run for the shower as we know that in all probability water (warm or hot) will only last a short while.  It is truly a wonderful shower.  Refreshed we enjoy the sensation of clean clothes.  Still ahead is the task of sorting our belongings into piles of dirty laundry (huge piles of dirty laundry).

We all meet up in the Dining Room to decide what we want to do for dinner. The vote is unanimous - steak.  Freddy had reserved a special restaurant for our last evening together in Cusco but we quickly decide we cannot wait one more day so he makes a call and off we all go to the Fallen Angel.  It is a great restaurant, very good steak (even if it is not Alberta beef).  The decor is amazing at the Fallen Angel and we have a tour of the various rooms and take pictures while we wait for our food.  Great food, great wine, great company.  A very good end to a very long day.
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