Through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu

Trip Start Jan 09, 2006
Trip End Aug 20, 2006

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Flag of Peru  ,
Saturday, June 10, 2006

As the traditional "Inca Trail" trek was booked out months in advance and the alternative treks didn't appeal too much, we decided to head to Machu Picchu via a few villages in the Sacred Valley. We took a nice crowded local bus for a few hours to the market town of Pisaq, then after a browse, lunch and a quick visit to the nearby ruins we took another bus to Ollantaytambo, a beautiful and quaint village surrounded by ruins, and mountains. After a night here we took the scenic train to Agua Caliente and after catching some of the World Cup games and checking out the hot springs, got an early night as we were up at half four to get to Machu Picchu bright and early.

Well the early start was worth it,we were there early enough to get to the Sun Gate, a couple of viewing points and then climb up Huayna Picchu in time for the first sun rays to break through the mist of the mountains and light up the ruins. A pretty special moment and I'm glad I was able to share it with some great friends. Thanks to some poor route planning we had to re-climb the 1000 or so vertical steps to get back up to summit and then down again after going to see a cave temple. At that altitude and in the baking sun it wasn't exactly a leisurely stroll!

After spending the rest of the day trying to avoid huge tour groups that descend throughout the afternoon we walked back to Agua Caliente just in time to catch some of the England Sweden train before jumping on the evening train to Cuzco. Thanks to a strike this journey took twice as long as planned which was just what we needed after being up since 4 and having done a lot of walking, gotta love those protesting South Americans!
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