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Machu Picchu

First off:

Thursday, July 15th, was our Machu Picchu day.  It was the big one for the trip.  The top historical travel destination in South America.  After doing some research on getting to the site itself, we opted to do a daytrip via a tour company rather than organize all the tickets ourselves, which seemed like a big headache.  It didn’t work out to that much more to have somebody do it all for us, so we went and paid the $170 Wednesday afternoon to get an organized tour.

Thursday started off as a groggy day: 03:30 we had our alarms set.  We grabbed our bags and headed out the door where we waited to be picked up.  I opted for shorts, figuring I didn’t want to be sweating balls on top of the mountain during the day.  Of course I was freezing in the morning while it was dark out, and making matters worse was our driver was late.  Every bus that drove by got us more and more ticked off.  Finally a car stopped at the end of the road, and started reversing all the way down the road… sure enough this genius would be our driver.

We met Daniel in the car, a guy from Houston, Texas who was off to see the sight with us.  It was good to have someone else on the tour with us.  We drove through the dark to Ollantayambo.  Here we waited for a breif spell at the train station, passing time via cappuccino’s before our Inca Rail train pulled up for our 06:30 departure.  The train was pretty good, there was food and snack service.  The only problem was the cramped legroom.  After a 2 hr train-ride we got into Agaus Calientes where we were ushered to the shuttle buses up to Machu Picchu.

We had about 3 hrs to explore the ruins by ourselves before we had to be back to meet up with “Pedro” for a guided tour in English.  In those 3 hrs we took more photo’s than I thought possible.  By the time we finished up and went down to meet Pedro, we were pretty much done with it.  So Pedro insisted we head back up, but we all demanded we have time for Lunch first.  After eating an expensive sandwich (35 soles) we had Ice-cream (provided with the meal) which we had to gulp down and fight off brain freeze.  We then headed back up for a massive English tour for 2 hrs.

By this point we were done.  We totally forgot any sunscreen and were beginning to burn.  So we B-lined it for the exit and caught a shuttle-bus back into town.  Here we sat down on a balcony above the train tracks and had a typical 15 sole 3-course meal.  We got a little refreshment with some cheap 1.5 L beer (roughly $6 CAD).  After this we walked around the market.  Here Paul lost his jacket, which he left lying up on his messenger bag… Likely stolen and he didn’t even notice.  I bought a little Inca face mask along with an Inca pillow, spending roughly $12.

By this time everybody was tired.  By the time we stepped on the train everybody was dozing off.  We stumbled off the train, and found a lady with our names on a sign.  She ushered us to a shuttle bus where we waited 20 mins for a couple of idiot Brazilians who were lost… Once on the bus the had the audacity to recline their seats all the way (who reclines seats on a shuttle bus) cramping us in the back… I was about to introduce them to the backside of my hand when we finally took off.  We got home at roughly 23:45 and went right to sleep.

Here’s a pic of a Llama right in front of me on the viewing platform.

Overlooking the valley:

The Inca trail:

A Doorway:

Taking a break on a stone chair:

In the Kings residence:

On the Rocks;

Lookin’ Up:

Me, Daniel, Paul:

In Agaus Calientes:

Here’s me in Cusco:

Today we met up with our three Irish friends, Sinead, Shayne, and Ciara (who just got in town last night) for Lunch before me and Paul went out explore the ruins of Saqsaywaman, AKA “Sexy Woman” (how it’s pronounced).  I will post pics of this later in the week.  We also bought our tickets to Copacabana, Bolivia – Saturday night at 22:00 (arrives around 10:00).  Tonight we are meeting back up with our Irish friends for Dinner (I’m hoping to try Guinea Pig) before heading out for a night on the town.

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