Another early start to catch the Machu Picchu train. it took almost an hour to get out on Cusco five or six switch backs to get out of the steep slope out of town. After a shuffle of seats to accomodate a separated couple I ended up with a Japanese lady Sue travelling by herself and Rob & Alison from Vancouver. I would end up being on two other trips with them. Very nice people.
Journey to Machu Picchu uneventful but pleasant.
Upon arriving I promptly left one of my cameras on the train in the confusion but by the time I realised it was already with the officials who returned it to me promptly ... phewwwwww
I had been given instructions by the Travel Service before leaving Cusco that my guide would be Darwin and he would have a green jacket and flag. Sure enough Mr Darwin Comacho was waiting for us as promised.
Apparently he had first visited Machu Picchu in 1965 and had written five books about it, so needless to say we had some great information along the way.
Different areas of the site were used for different purposes, storage, ceremonial, living, industrial etc and the famous stepped terraces had different uses in different area (retaining walls, agricultural, defence etc)
Winding up the dirt road from Aguas Calientes to control area took 20 minutes or so. Then the trek began. Even with the hundreds of visitors swarming around it had a mystical feel to it, after a guided tour I took a trek up to the Sun Gate ... coming back was a bit tough on the knees without shock absorbers.
Night spent in a hotel and next morning was a trek down to the museum .. I decided not to return to Machu Picchu only thing I hadn't done was climb the big mountain for the view down and was a bit concerned that after the previous day I may blow out a knee on descent and lay myself up for a few days, and there was the extra bus & entrance fee expense of course.
Mucked around Agua Calientes in afternoon before the train left. Found I was sitting next to Sue from the first leg of the trip and, on the way back there was a few interesting moments on the train, the staff put on a fashion show modelling alpaca wear (for sale of course). About an hour out of Cusco we had the option of getting of and for a few extra dollars taking a bus direct which would save 40 minutes or so. As I had the travel service waiting for me to arrive by train I decided to stay on ...
mistake !! I should have noted the unscheduled stop for some repairs around Ollyantaytomba because sure enough 10 inutes later we ground to a halt and eventually the power went off ... we ended up in the dark for a while only 6 English speaking people on this carriage and the staff didn't seem to know what would happen next. After an hour on board we spent 20-30 minutes beside the train waiting for a bus to arrive ... the only benefit was the clear starry Southern Hemisphere sky
Eventually back to the station met up with travel service and a little sleep before the 10 hr Tourist Bus trip to Puno the next day.