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Published: November 1st 2018
Up early this morning for our 06:30 pick-up. Luckily for us, the driver and man at our hotel picked up our heavy bags onto their shoulders and carried them to the van, so we just had to carry our overnight bags. The driver drove us to the station and asked us to wait. A Condor Travel rep came down and explained to us that we were suppose to leave the bags at the hotel as they were being picked up from the hotel, which meant the driver had to take our bags back! We felt really bad about that but looking at our instructions, it was ambiguous and wasn’t stated clearly that we were to leave our luggage at the hotel.
We had a 45 minute wait for our train so I ate some of the bagged breakfast the hotel had prepared for us and before we knew it we were onto the train which has glass windows on the ceiling so you can see out. Not quite as spectacular as the 180 degree ones we had in the Canadian Rockies but adequate for this trip. Most of the scenery was on the train level anyway as it basically follows
the Urubamba river and takes about 90 minutes to reach Aguas Calientes, the closest town to the Machu Picchu Archaeological site. We were seated at tables and sat opposite a lovely Peruvian lady, Gianella who was taking her mother to Machu Picchu for her 80th
birthday. She works in the travel industry and spoke excellent English.
On arrival at Aguas Calientes we were met by 2 Condor Travel reps. The young lady took our overnight bags to our hotel whist the young man (from Arequipa) took us down to the Machu Picchu bus stop and introduced us to our guide who took us onto a bus and which drove us up the windy road to Machu Picchu. We were in a small group of 9, mostly from Toronto and our guide, Hubert who always referred to the Incas as his ancestors, so a true local. He was very good, walking up very slowly as we ascended to the upper level of Machu Picchu first before gradually descending again. He stopped on quite a few occasions and gave us some good insights. Unfortunately the weather was not the best and the first viewpoint was a foggy white but as the
morning progressed the mist moved and lifted and more of the site was revealed. It also showered occasionally but not too frequently luckily. Maybe this will make for atmospheric photos. Nevertheless, we were not disappointed as the site is massive and looks amazing amongst the mountains and clouds. We are returning very early tomorrow morning and Hubert reckons it will be clearer and Daisy overheard a couple saying they had been there since 7am and it was clearer, so it is the opposite to what you might think. We’ll have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.
We finished the tour at 13:30 and said farewell to the others as we were the only ones staying to have a buffet lunch at the Tinkuy Restaurant which is part of the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel actually situated next door to the Archaeological site and costs an arm and a leg. We took our time and were the last ones out of the restaurant before lining up for the bus back to Aguas Calientes. The buses come up on a very regular basis and we didn’t have to wait too long, leaving at 14:35 and arriving at 15:00.
We had a little trouble finding the hotel because the Maps.me app had the hotel in the wrong location. I knew we were close so I asked a café owner who was kind enough to take us right to the hotel which was actually in the main street and we had walked right past it. Anyway, whilst lost we passed some very nice some statues which we have since found out are a feature of the town.
After settling in and having a short rest we ventured out and bought a few things before watching a free movie on Machu Picchu which was showing in the Cultural Centre. It was only in Spanish but was interesting anyway because it featured many of the things we had seen today and told some of the stories we have already heard about so we sort of knew what they were saying.
After that we walked back and neither of us were hungry, so we just bought a packet of Pringles and a banana and that was dinner.
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