...........Taxi pick up at 6-30am for transfer to Poroy rail station, for the train to Machu Picchu. Poroy station has all the nice touches that come with following a tourist trail catering for rich Americans. It has the nice coffee bar, John has his first coffee in 2 weeks............................and a waiting area reproduced to a time of the 1920s. As we follow the rivers and valleys, 3 hours in total, we can see the walkers on the Inca Trail at the side of the tracks, which is quite sad for us really, when you think we have our passes in our bags but cant use them....................nevermind, we arrive at the town station at about 12pm.
No problems with travel or sickness, and we decide to leave the oxygen tank in the hotel, taking only the emergency oxygen blast cannisters for support. Oxygen is available pretty much everywhere in this region.
There is the fast flowing Ulurbamba River crashing through the town and many cafes and restaurants plying for that last tourist dollar before the bus transfers take us to the site. The town is at 2000m + sea level, Cusco is at 3400m + sea level, so there is a benefit to us. The terrain is jungle like where not urban, and is extremely green and lush. The town is inaccessible by road, so you would imagine the train company owns the land and wont allow anyone to build road access........
The buses snake their way up the mountain, zig-zag style, a total of 400m from the town, and it is this positioning that is the real surprise..............why would you build a city literally on the top of a mountain, and how......................30mins after setting off, we pull into the arrival area and take our first steps on the mountain top. We can see the river and the town deep below us in the gauge, and we marvel at the sheer scale of the grassy mountains around us...............
The city is a maze of stone-built houses, workshops, terraces, temples, all manner of buildings.................many of the building materials were brought up from the Sacred Valley by Llama, along the trail, and it is this context, which surely must be the magic of this place. The buildings have remained for 500 years and survivied many earthquakes, so have great architectural integrity, but the fact that they were ever built in the location that they were in the first place is the real gem surely............
We can see the sun-gate where we would have first viewed the site had we arrived by inca trail, and thats another sad moment, but we still got there, even if by the tourist trail, and thats important.
This is no ordinary tourist attraction, it isnt just Peru offering the best that it can to the holiday market, this is a real jewel of a sight, one which is unequalled so far by anything Denise or I have ever seen. It is in no-way overplayed or oversold, it simply is a true wonder-of-the-world......................worth all the effort.
See the attached picture of this blog....................and also we've added others to previous blogs now, you'll need to re-access the other blogs fully to see all photos.
We have one more day in Cusco before leaving for Lima on Friday at lunchtime. We then fly back to New York, where John is promising himself the worlds biggest Starbucks coffee...!!!!!!!! and a Diet Coke..................we plan to jump on the AirTrain into Manhatten for the day, before we take the last flight back to Manchester at 10pm on Saturday night.
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