On 4 April I finally left Cusco to go to Ollantaytambo. We left via the road via Pisac, and at first climbed up from Cusco up to almost 3800m, and then descended into the Sacred Valley, with beautiful views. From Pisac we went through the valley, and in Urubamba we had lunch in a restaurant. We continued up to Ollantaytambo, where we stayed in the Hostal Chaska Wasi directly on the main square. The hostel is very friendly, and we spent the evening drinking a few glasses of wine and talking to Katy, the owner of the hostel.
The next day we got up very early – at 4am – to take the train at 5am from Ollantaytambo. We arrived at Aguas Calientes, the nearest village to Machu Picchu, at about 6:30am, and began to walk towards Machu Picchu. At first the road follows the river, and after more or less one kilometre we crossed the river, and began to ascend – stairs with more than 1500 steps. But the bus from Aguas Calientes costs another 18 US$.
We arrived to the entrance of Machu Picchu, where there are some extremely expensive cafés (13 soles for one Inca Cola), and entered. The view of Machu Picchu was spectacular, and well worth the pain of getting up there.
I cannot imagine how the Incas built Machu Picchu – so many meters above the valley. Clearly Machu Picchu is a spectacular architectonic and engineering work, and even after several centuries it is still very impressive.
We climbed up the mountain Machu Picchu a little, to have a better view of the ruins. And later we walked through the ruins until the afternoon.
Finally, we went down again, but this time not the stairs, but the serpentines built for bus and car access to Machu Picchu. In a café at the bridge crossing the river we had a few beers and rested, and after some time we continued to Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes is a village 100% taken over by tourism to Machu Picchu, and quite horrible. But well – we had dinner and took a Pisco Sour, and waited for the train to return to Ollantaytambo, where we arrived at 11pm.
Today I'm resting for the day, while Rob left. But I really need to rest before I continuing by bicycle in the direction of Abancay.