I awoke before our alarms went at 3:15 due to the noise outside our window. I lay there thinking it was absolutely bucketing down and dreading the thoughts of walking in the rain, only to discover it was actually the river outside! We had quick showers then made our way downstairs to offload our luggage and start on our way.
We walked in the dark with our flashlights to guide us. Some people more eager than others to be the first in the queue at the bridge. We passed the bus line queue which was already forming even though it did not start until 6am. It was now 4am.
We waited at the bridge, eating rolls and sharing them with the stray dogs that loitered around. Eventually the gates opened and we were allowed cross. We had been told that it should take us an hour, though for locals it takes 40 minutes.
It took us 1 hr 30 minutes!! It was so so tough. 2000 steps! Don’t get me wrong, some people over took us. Others we over took. We were catching our breaths for the billionth time when a girl had to get sick from exertion. We stayed together and pushed each other up, the only way we knew we were near is when we heard voices above us. It was a killer! But my ass felt amazing 😂.
We made it up just before 6.30 am to be told by our Dutch friends that our tour guide wanted to leave without us. This annoyed us because we were told to meet at 6.30 plus the fact we were then left waiting for him once we got through the gates. We felt a bit like cattle as we shuffled towards the entrance.
I have to say I did feel a bit emotional as I got my first glimpse at the historical site. Sun was coming up & it was covered in cloud. Though I didn’t do the Classic Inca Trail the trek I chose took a lot out of me. Obviously this was partly due to sickness but even in good health I reckon I still would have struggled at parts. However despite all my grumbles I did make it. I didn’t appreciate it until a few months later but I finally gave myself a bit of credit. I met a few people who gave in & got the bus or the train because the same sickness knocked it out of them, however I persevered. It has to count for something!
Our tour guide had gathered a lot of people & talked us through the different parts of the site. Honestly though I didn’t take anything in about what he was saying. Apart from the fact that he wasn’t the best guide, it was easy to be distracted by the sure awe of the place & how it was built.
You are looking around at the architecture & seriously overwhelmed by how it was constructed. There’s a wall built into the mountain that I still don’t understand how it was made. Just when you are getting your head around it all you then spot Huayna Picchu mountain & spot building up there at a higher point. It is unbelievable.
We spent time wandering through the different parts. It seriously is crowded, full of people trying to get the perfect photo for their Instagram/Tinder profile. We overhear other tourists complain at their guide as they have been up since 7 am & they are tired of walking! We think ‘try walking up 2000 steps at 5 am missus!!’
What I did love about it was we seemed to meet a lot of people we had interacted with over the previous week. It was great catching up especially at the place which was probably our main reason of visiting Peru in the first place.
Due to the different weather conditions in Peru I had brought a onesie as I read Cusco gets very cold at night (which is very true). My friend dared me to wear it at the top of Machu Picchu. So I did, at lunch time when the sun was scalding us! She left shortly after to wait in the coffee shop as the tiredness suddenly hit her. I wandered about talking to different friends I had made. I also made it my mission to get the obligatory Lama photo.
We decided to make our way back for the bus. I have a problem with my knee & I knew descending those steps would cause me issues. I’m happy I did after recent problems I have had with it.
We had some food in Agues Calientes then went back to grab our stuff. We were all lethargic & couldn’t wait to rest our heads on the train back. About 5.20 pm we made our way to the train station for our 6 pm departure. Walking through the train station we thought it strange for it to be so busy, bodies lying about everywhere. We soon found out that there were delays. Communication in the station was a nightmare. No updates at all.
We eventually discovered there had been a train crash and that was what was causing delays. We only found out through talking to people, staff were unhelpful. For a few hours we lay on the concrete inside the station. We met up with Mary and her boyfriend who ended up joining our group when we eventually got seats outside. Some of the lads got alcohol and in spite of being exhausted we had a laugh for the most part. Our train company eventually gave us snacks to appease us, though we were annoyed it was mainly at the lack of information being given & the fact we were tired. Sitting outside was also cold so I put my onesie on over my clothes, I didn’t care at this stage. A group of Asian tourist had gotten drunk and were dancing around a smart phone to Barbie Girl, that amused us for a while.
Around 12.30 am we boarded the train. I think we all conked out as soon as we lay our heads down. The train doesn’t go all the way to Cusco so we had to get out at the final stop where we were to be brought back to Cusco by bus. It was near 3am and we were exhausted so what we disembarked to was absolute madness. Lots of people screaming at us for taxi’s & buses. After pushing our way through the crowd we finally found our group on a placard. We thought we could rest easy, instead we kept getting moved from bus to bus being told each one couldn’t take us. One of our companions got irate & snapped at the person in charge. A man came up and guided us towards a taxi, telling us he would take us. The lady in charge told us to go with him but we were on edge. We didn’t need to be as he brought us to our destination safely, we just were unnerved that early hour of the morning. Near 5 am we eventually crawled into bed in our hostel room, desperate to get heat in our bones and some rest after a very long day!!