I’m early again, as per usual on this trip. However spending the night in the laidback town of Ollantaytambo, I feel very refreshed (not that I was feeling tired). I’m ensure whether it’s the lower altitude or just me,but regardless I feel good today! I get ready and head downstairs for breakfast, where I’m the only person. The Bejar-Mejia mother is preparing breakfast, some bread, butter, jam, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. It’s nothing fancy but it does the trick for me as I tend to be a light eater in the mornings. After Breakfast I gather my things and walk to the train station.
The small station lies by the river and walking there you walk past tonnes of little breakfast stands serving, well, breakfast which in this case is soup. I go to the station gate and the attendant tells me I’m early; I need to wait a couple of minutes before they can open the gates. Twenty minutes later they open the gates and we are allowed onto the platform. Myself and the remaining passangers wait another couple of minutes before we board what I think is a pretty fancy train with skylights and all.
The train slowly starts its hour long journey creaping through the forest along the towards Aguas Calientes. I spend the ride reading and just taking in the shear beauty of the view. The river, the mountains, the green grass, the occasional porter carrying tents and other camping equipment to another camping site. It was an hour just of simply amazing landscapes and made long for a long train journey of some kind. After an hour we finally arrived at the town of Aguas Calientes, nessled in the mountain below Machu Picchu.
It started to rain a little as I got off the train, and my specially purchases waterproof jacket made another appearance while I looked for the hotel porter who was suppose to be waiting athe the station. When I found the porter he lead to me to the hotel, by foot, which immediately made realise how small the town was. Aguas Calientes is smart when it comes to attacking tourists with souvenirs as it placed its souvenir market at the entrance of the train station so you have to walk through it to get in and out of the station. Clever.
The porter takes me to the hotel where I drop off my stuff and go for a walk around the town. For once in Peru I’m slightly dissappointed. The town is so touristy it hurts. Pizza joints everywhere. Mexican food joints everywhere. The town has no real character and is simply a soulless purgatory before everyone goes to Machu Picchu. For a town so close to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it really is a horrible little place.. Don’t get me wrong, the setting is stunning, but it’s a vapid town. I felt cheated. I didn’t like that I had to spend the day there. So I walked around for a while taking photos before heading to a internet cafe to catch up on some emails.
After the emails I had some lunch and then did a bit more reading. My guide for the next day in Machu Pichu, Hector, came by the hotel to tell me about the next day, wake up time etc. We ended up having an interesting discussion about the languages and the Middle East (and all in my Spanish, which left me rather proud!). After our chat I prepared a shisha to smoke on the balcony facing the river. The noise of the river rippling over the rocks was loud but soothing and together with the shisha made for a very pleasant evening.
I was off to bed early as I had a 4am wake up the next morning for what was suppose to be the reason for this whole trip. Machu Picchu. Only a few more hours until I realise a childhood dream.