Day 28 - Second Visit to Machu Picchu

South America
November 1st 2018
Published: November 2nd 2018
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Up at 04:00, finished packing, quick breakfast and out the door at 04:40. When we made it to the Machu Picchu bus stop at 4:50, there was already a very long line of tourists waiting for the buses. We thought the buses started at 06:00 but the first one left at 05:20 and by then the line had doubled! The buses just came continuously from that time 2 or 3 at a time and we got onto the tenth bus with two behind us at 05:40

During the night there were thunderstorms but the morning looked clear as far as we could tell (it was still dark). With much anticipation we winded our way up for the second time, wondering whether we would get clearer skies. We passed one level of clouds on the way up and on arrival, lo and behold, we could see some blue skies.

As soon as we entered the park at 06:15, we knew it was going to be much better, we were in luck. As planned we walked straight to the Sun Gate. Along the way we made a new friend, Steve Atkinson from Liverpool who owns a bar/restaurant there. Steve will be coming to Sydney in January so hopefully we’ll meet again. As we approached the Sun Gate we looked back occasionally and suddenly the mist had moved from the main part of Machu Picchu and also Huayna Picchu which is the mountain that is restricted to just 100 hikers a day. I had decided a while ago that I would not do that one. Yesterday we could only see tiny parts of it so this was our first glimpse of Machu Picchu with the mountain behind it and we were quite excited. We continued our way up and reached the Gate at 07:45 and stayed quite a while savouring the view.

We started our descent and I felt quite emotional realizing that here we were looking at one of the most wonderful archaeological sites in the world. As we approached our starting point for the Sun Gate, I saw a sign to Machu Picchu mountain so I went up a bit to check it out and it was also a ticketed entry so I called out to Daisy to continue on at the bottom and I would meet her further on. Problem was that the track I was on was different but they did meet later on. Along the way I turned a corner and to my surprise I saw the classic Machu Picchu view with Huayna Picchu behind it and my day was made. I ended up going against the one way signs to find Daisy and eventually I did and I excitedly took her back to the views I had seen. We had not been taken to these views yesterday presumably because of all the fog and clouds. We felt so lucky that we had a second opportunity to experience this wonderful place in all its glory.

Our guide from yesterday, Hubert suggested that we hike to the Inca Bridge after the Sun Gate and as we continued on the same path as yesterday we saw the Inka (sic) Bridge sign and followed them. This took us away from the main site around the mountain and was a fantastic walk along narrow paths cut into the cliff face. It turned out to be just a 40 minute return path from the main tourist trail. The bridge is actually closed with a gate and for good reason as you can see from the photos. Nevertheless, an enjoyable walk with fantastic views of the Urubamba River.

On our return to the main trail at about 11:00 Daisy decided she had had enough walking so took the direct exit, but I decided to continue along the trail that we took yesterday since I still had another hour and took some extra photos with a brighter sky, although by the time I finished, the weather was starting to turn again. As soon as I finished I met Steve again and we exchanged emails to keep in touch. I then went up to the Gift Shop Café and found Daisy relaxing with a coffee. We then lined up for the return bus and it was lucky we did as by the time we got on our bus the line had tripled behind us.

We got back to town and collected our bags from Perumanta B&B and settled down for lunch at a so-called “Chifa” which is a Peruvian Chinese Restaurant. Daisy got the tourist deal which had “wantan soup” as an entrée and Daisy excitedly expected won ton soup, but it had no won ton and was basically a chicken noodle soup. Her main was a combination of fried rice, noodles, chicken and vegetables which was surprisingly good. I played it safe and had a fried trout with rice, chips and salad.

By now it was 14:48, an hour before our train was to depart so we started making our way to the station but Daisy was diverted by some markets so I told her I'd meet her at the station. I decided to wait at the bottom of the street but when 15:10 came around I thought it best to go to the station and I found her there along with the Condor Travel rep who had met us yesterday. Although it wasn’t necessary, it was nice that they always seem to have someone there to make sure everything is OK.

Train was right on time and along with the complimentary coffee and cake, we were treated to a dance by a Peruvian character and then an alpaca wool fashion show which was very entertaining. The fashions were modern and Daisy wished that these were offered to us by the tourist trap shop we were taken to. When we first sat down opposite an Asian couple I said hello and the lady smiled at me but her husband just completely ignored me and kept on looking at his tablet. OK fine, I don’t want to be your friend either, so we sat down and after a few minutes the train hostess came over and asked if we were in a group and since we weren‘t she asked if we would like to change seats and so we got a whole table to ourselves and were able to put our bags on the spare seats. We felt like we got an upgrade.

The time went quickly and we were met as promised at Ollantaytambo station and taken to a taxi for our trip back to Cusco. The usual 90 minute drive took two hours because of the heavy traffic returning from Ollantaytambo and we arrived at the El Andariego Hotel at 19:30 and were re-united with our large bags. Receptionist Maria was very nice and gave us a map and explained what we could see. The hotel has a very nice atmosphere, we can help ourselves to tea anytime and I’m sitting in the dining room with an open fire finishing this blog post.

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