The view behind our hotel - this is the world behind the touristy facade that is Aguas Calientes.
...Lets Go to Machu Picchu
Unlike many people that go to Machu Picchu we really didn’t care to see the sun rise over the ruins. So we slept until 7am, had breakfast and then headed off on our hike to the ruins.
Over the Urubamba River with Machu Picchu up above.
Most people take a bus up to the ruins but you can walk up the over 3000 stair trail to the top. We were told for the first section we could either walk along the bus road or along the train tracks which would cut off about 15 minutes of the hike so we chose the train tracks. As we walked along the tracks we got to see how they were put together and noted that must be why they are not currently in use.
Here we go...
Does Monica look pooped or what...
What a view!
Still going up.
The hike was strenuous and beautiful. It took about 2 hours. We met our friends at the top and walked around the ruins for about 2 hours before heading back down.
We made it!
They don't look too bad for having hiked for 4 days!
Time To Go Back Down
We were making our way quickly back to Aguas Calientes along the same train tracks when half way through one of the two tunnels Seth heard what sounded like an earthquake or a train. We both looked up at the same time to see a bright light moving straight toward the tunnel. After Seth yelling and expletive and “run” we turned and sprinted back towards then entrance of the tunnel as the conductor blew his horn. We made it out (obviously) and clung to the side of the embankment outside the tunnel as the train roared by and surprised tourists waved at us.
Let’s just say we didn’t meander through the second tunnel.
We later found out that a once a day rail service had been restarted – not sure what the chances are of being in the middle of a tunnel for that one time of the day. Even though we can’t believe we had this experience the other part of us can’t believe they are running trains on these tracks.
It seems in this country along with most other third world countries the policy stands as “use it and abuse it until it’s all used up regardless of safety.” Also, “if something breaks – fix it, but just enough to get by”…. Scary.
We were pretty pooped but our train back did not leave until 6pm so we ate lunch and wandered around town until then.
We made it back to The Green House uneventfully.