On the Wrong Side of the Tracks

Trip Start Sep 27, 2009
Trip End May 31, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Peru  , Cusco,
Saturday, October 24, 2009

We awoke late at Santa Teresa and had pancakes for breakfast, along with yogurt and granola.  A sustained hike of 3+ hours led us to the Hidroelectrica, a train station along a hydroelectric plant, where we had lunch and left the bags to be sent by train to Aguas Calientes, the tourist trap of a town at the base of Machu Picchu.

After lunch we set off hiking the tracks to Aguas Calientes.  We were doused in warm mountain rain, at first relieving, eventually, exhausting, especially when we lost our guide on the edge of town and wandered around looking for him while soaked to the bone.  We eventually crossed paths and were brought to our hostal, where we showered and then went to dinner at one of the many restaurants in Aguas Calientes offering Mexican, Pizza, Italian, and all the usual suspects of Peruvian comida tipica, along with a few welcomed glasses of wine (6+oz. pours, too!).  All the prices in town were a joke, 400% of what they are in nearby Cusco, which is still a relatively expensive city.  At any rate, we'd arrived within minutes of Machu Picchu, and finances were no reason to turn back now, since the $31 train ticket was inevitable anyway.  We bought our passes for the next day and turned in, awaking at the luxurious hour of 8:30 to go tour the site.

Is getting there worth all the jacked up prices?  Maybe, depending on whether or not you've just hiked through some of the most gorgeous, pristine scenery the area can offer for four consecutive days, sacrificing nearly every creature comfort to make it through.  The ruins site, being of archaeological interest, left me flat except for the views, and the llamas grazing freely on the terrace grasses.  I felt like it was a place to take pictures and brag about having visited in your dying days, although I've always been more interested in living culture, nature and food than places of global notoriety and historical significance.  All in all, it was a destination, and I much preferred the journey; I only wish Mollie wouldn't have suffered so much along the way.
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