I guess they call it the sanctuary lodge because after 6pm its actually quiet up on the hill of Machu Picchu. You can hear the creatures of the night, and if it weren’t for the clouds that rolled in you could also see every star in the sky. It was nice not to hear the roar of tour buses for a whole 12 hours, although they started to rumble up to the lodge at the bright and early hour of 6 am, just as we were waiting for our runny, undercooked omlette’s to re-cook. My hopes for getting into the gates before everyone else were crushed pretty much instantly. Oh well.
We actually made it in by 0630, which was just enough time to let the 6 fresh tour bus people to disperse through the grounds. We managed to get some amazing pictures with the mist and clouds starting to lift at just the right time. We hung out with llama’s, explored the ruins, and were back in bed for a lovely two hour siesta at 0745.
We took the not-so-harrowing bus back down to Aquas Calientes, lugging our bags for fun, we wandered the markets and stopped at a “meh” pizza place for lunch. Actually it seems they ALL serve Mexican, pizza, and Peruvian dishes. Mine was not good.
We then caught the train from there to Ollanta, a small town that also has ruins of its own. However, they cost about the same price as Machu Picchu but have 200 steps to climb up to get there. Since we were carrying our big bags, we decided against going, not to mention, you can’t beat Machu Picchu, so what’s the point.
My spanglish abilities enabled us another taxi ride back to Cusco. Half the time I didn’t know what the heck he was asking, so I made up my answers from guessing. I really can’t understand very well, although I can produce some pretty clever, although probably incorrect statements. He seemed to catch my drift anyway.
It was an hour and a half ride, with a much different perspective than the train. The scenery in the rural areas was a combo of Mexican rundown cement architecture or bright orange adobe style homemade bricks, and dusty and dry Spanish landscapes and shrubbery. I know, I hate to compare things, but how else can you place things in the world?! My favorite part is that rural Peru is such a natural, organic place, with cows, pigs, chickens, lambs, donkeys and dogs, all hanging out at the side of the road. Life here is still very simple.
This fine evening, back in Cusco, we caught a bite to eat, and then spent an annoying amount of time online trying to book our next train tickets. Not sure why it didn’t work after entering in a million questions and having the transaction fail not once, but four times…. But, thank goodness for Skype, we could call VISA with the 1 800 number and potentially fix the problem. However, it wasn’t a VISA issue. We still didn’t book the tickets. Roar. The joys of dealing with travel details…. On that note, its bed time; we’re sleeping in a smidge.