So I’m back, writing about Peru. I came to Cuzco with some adventures. It’s enough to say, I went to Machu Picchu having only the clothing I was wearing on me at the moment. For two days trip in rather cold mountains. My life was saved by my poncho I use to cover me with on the bus.
Trips to Cuzco can be bought from a hundred dollars. Almost everything more expensive is an available option, up to a thousand dollars. The basic version costs about 100-200$. Including bus transport from Cuzco (six hours ride), acommodation, some food and the entrance fee to machu Picchu with a guide. And two hours of walking along the rail road, the same the next day to get back. I don’t regret a cent spent on it.
If you have a bigger budget, you can buy a tri by a luxurious train for 300-600$. It looks comfortable and the food on board is said to be good. And you don’t have to walk along the rail road. Everything has its price.
There is also the option of organizing the trip yourself. The ticket for a bus to hydroelectric plant from which you walk to Aguas Calientes costs about 50 soles, the same for the hotel. 120 soles the entrance fee. I don’t know how much for the guide, but I suppose it should be around 50-100 soles. Food. Another 50 soles. So it sums up to about 100$. You can organize a cheap trip with some effort – or take one offered by dozens of tourist offices in Cuzco.
I was waiting for the bus in Cuzco in the hostel with Hector and Valery, a grandpa and his granddaughter. Hector was born and grew up in Cuzco but has been living in Lima for many years. He wanted to show the cultural heritage of Peru to his granddaughter as it’s not very well known amongst Peruvians.
On the board of the amazing mean of transport, where I suffered for over six hours, I became friends with Rodrigo, a Spaniard. Then we walked together from the hydroelectric plant to Aguas Calientes. On the way we met a Frenchman, whose name none of us two memorized. The Frenchman is travelling through the South America on the bike – although he was on foot at the moment. So we walked to the town.
Aguas Calientes is a town lying at the bottom of the mountain Machu Picchu. Strictly tourist place. Only restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops. There are also hot springs, as the name suggests, but my schedule was rather tight, so I didn’t get to use them.
In the evening at the dinner I met Hector and Valery again. The invited me to share the table with them. Hector told me a bit about his life, he was also interested in mine. He told me he knew Quechua – the language of Incas spoken till today by native people of Peru. hector told me it sounded a bit like Russian – he used to work in the US with people from many countries.
The next morning I didn’t have a chance to benefit from the comfort of the best hotel I was in since my coming to the South America. Very clean, with a comfortable bed and hot shower. At 5 o’clock I was already walking – the guide told us to climb to the ruins for 6.30 a.m., as he told, ‘Inca time, not latino time’. Exactly on time, I mean.
I wasn’t there on time. I got beaten by the stairs. Some of them original, Inca. I didn’t count the steps but they continue for about 1,2 km and require and hour to climb them. Exactly how much time I spent. I was late about three minutes. I got to my group already inside. But I wasn’t the last one. Hector and Valery got there later and I didn;t meet them till the way back to Cuzco in the afternoon.
Machu Picchu… What shoud I talk about? First, a short synopsis of interesting facts given by the guide, then the pictures – let the images speak for themselves.
The city wasn’t inhabited in a regular way. It was a kind of a research post, where the inhabitants lived in half year long shifts. The king came there once or twice a year. Men and women lived apart and had different responsibilities – growing new varieties of corn and potatoes, studying the stars and planets, breeding llamas and alpacas, growing herbs. The city was built from the top. First, they made the terrasses to strengthen the slope, then constructed the buildings. The Spaniards didn’t discover Machu Picchu because it was abandoned in order to hide it.