Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 62 - Cuzco to Aguas Calientes, Peru

RobT:  Since RobC is well-acquainted with Machu Picchu, I decided to go see the Machu Picchu ruins by myself for a two-day visit. I got up at 5 a.m.to catch a taxi to the Ollantaytambo train station.  One hour and thirty minute drive with 4 locals packed in the little white Toyota Corolla wagon.  Arrived at the train station and waited for the blue Perurail coach to take me for the remaining two-hour journey to Aguas Calientes. Neat little shops and cafes lined the walkway to the station where Quechua women peddled even more wares.  They seemed to be everywhere.

Ollantaytambo train station.

Met a great couple, Victor, a Peruvian and Adriana from Spain both living in England.  The train ride flew by as we discussed everything from overpriced train fares to life in Canada and England.  Damn.  Never even got a picture of them.

Arrived  shortly after 11 a.m., found my hotel (along the river), and had lunch.

Aguas Calientes train station

A million merchants a soon as you step off the train.

View from my hotel room.

"Downtown" Aguas Calientes.  Yes, the rail runs through the middle of town.

After lunch I decided to go see the waterfalls.  Supposedly a 2-hour hike, round trip.  I was told to follow the signs along the railroad tracks.  So, 10 minutes of walking and I noticed this "nice" trail off to the right.  Thinking maybe I misunderstood and this was the way instead of the tracks.

 Nice climbing trail until this ...

Then this ... 

... I turned around here after the 30-minute hike up the mountain.  I guess I made a wrong turn.

 Back to the tracks until this ....

I decided the tunnel was not a good option either.  Wrong turn Number 2.  I noticed a road below so I found a short cut down the cliff and finally saw people.  I guess I was on the right track now.

The old train station at the start of the climb to Machu Picchu.

Quechua woman selling water and Gatorade to travelers along the rail.  As I forgot my water I was willing to pay top-dollar without a fight.  5 soles (1.50 USD) for a Gatorade.

Path to the falls.

Huge rapids.  I made it to the white boulder in the middle.

The rapids up close.


The water fall.  It was bigger than it looks ... really.

Not much room along the trail.

In Aguas Calientes, the sidewalks rolled up at 8 p.m.  Everyone was getting a good night sleep to catch the first bus up to the ruins of Machu Picchu at 6 a.m.

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