So, Machu Picchu. We got up at 3:30 am to catch the first buses to MP so we could be within the first 400 people to arrive, and thus be allowed to climb Huayna Picchu (the mountain in Machu Picchu). We were definitely within the first 200 people to get on the buses, but lo and behold when we got to Machu Picchu there was already a very long line of people who had walked up before the buses arrived. I doubt even the first people on the first bus got to climb the mountain, so if you want to climb Huayna Picchu you will have to hike from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu, which is…a lot. And, frankly, it’s probably better we didn’t because at that point I still wasn’t feeling 100% at that point.
Plus, as I learned when we arrived, there is still plenty of walking (uphill) to be done in Machu Picchu. Right when we arrived we walked up to the Sun Gate, which is about a 2 hour walk both ways, so that was plenty of walking. Oh, and while we were walking there was this peruvian woman in a ridiculous white tracksuit, blue eyes hadow and wedge heals doing the hike, talking about the ‘energy’ at the place. So, that was interesting. And, the rest of Machu Picchu was…Machu Picchu. I’m sure you can read about it anywhere and see photos, and of course seeing it in person was super super cool. Anyway, got done with that, then chilled out in Aguas Calientes for the rest of the day, and went to the hot baths which were amusing. They are thermal groundwater baths so they smell like sulfur, and there was some fun people watching. Apparently though a lot of people are disgusted by the smell, but I thought it was alright. Then we played jenga at a local restaurant and found out that when you order chips and guac they give you a ton of guac but no chips, which is lame.
So, the next day was another early morning. 5 am train to Ollantaytambo, but at least that day I was finally feeling well again. We decided the previous night that instead of going to see the ruins that you have to pay to see in Ollantay, we would climb the mountain Pinkuylluna that has ruins on it, plus a great view of the towns and other ruins. Highly recommended, though possibly slightly dangerous. It was a really cool climb and a great view, the ruins on the mountain (the Inka’s storehouses) were cool and we were the only people there. Anyway, we were done with that by ten or eleven, in a couple of hours, so we ate breakfast and hopped a combi back to Cusco, thus ending our Machu Picchu adventure.