Machupicchu, take two! This time, I hiked up. Mom took the bus, but the rest of us hoofed it. We were up way before dawn, at about 3:45 in the morning. We walked through the pouring rain to the footbridge across the river, which didn’t open until five. It was only a fifteen minute walk, but we wanted to be among the first people in line or we’d be stuck behind slower traffic going up. Dawn was considering breaking and the rain had slowed from a pour to a drizzle when the bridge opened.
There was a guy at a little shelter, scanning tickets before people crossed. It’s lucky I speak Spanish, because I had to explain to him that I’d left mine with my mom, on the bus, so it’d be less likely to get wet. He didn’t seem to believe me, though, and assured me that even if I walked all the way up, I would be denied entrance without a ticket. I assured him I did in fact have a ticket, just not on my person, and with a shake of his head, he let me past.
It took just under 50 minutes to climb the Inca steps to the top, and even though I ducked into the underbrush to tinkle, I was still one of the first people in line. The gates to Machupicchu don’t open until 6, and being Perú it was a good bit later than that, but I used the time to survey the growing line, looking for Mom. Justin, one of the others on the tour, was the first to spot her, and because I was on the stairs, I was easily visible to her.
The line to get in.
We were promised a tour of the ruins, but instead, Virgilio gave us a quick run down of the history of Machupicchu.
Mom and I wandered a bit and I did my best to play tour guide, although considering what an ordeal my tour was the first time I was in Machupicchu, it’s a wonder I remembered anything at all. We climbed Waynapicchu, which only took about 30 minutes–20 less than the promised 50–and that was the best thing we did all day. It was challenging, but it was also beautiful, and there was a great view of the ruins.
We puttered around the rest of the ruins for a while, but we were both tired and cross, so it wasn’t that fabulous of a time. We took the bus back down to the town, had lunch, and then collected our belongings. We went to the train station and read for a while. I crashed on the trip back to Ollantaytambo–my fifth time through the town–and Mom had to wake me at our stop. I got us onboard a collectivo back to Cusco, but the driver decided to take a tour group heading to Pisaq without telling the rest of us. It was an hour and a half detour, and we were all pissed. I gave him S/10 instead of S/10 each and had a whole argument planned out in Spanish that I didn’t get to use. He wasn’t even going to drop us off at the Plaza! It’s a good thing I knew the area, and Mom and I could bail early and walk to the school.
Rebeca, the lady in charge of the school, had promised to have our luggage moved to the front desk of the hotel. But she had failed to do so, and the school was, of course, deserted. Thankfully, she answered the phone and came to unlock the doors for us. Then we still had to find a hostel, and let me tell you, Cusco with three suitcases and two backpacks in tow is a lot less beautiful. Between the cobblestones and hills, I was wishing for my backpacking backpack–heavy or not, it’s a heck of a lot easier to manage in that kind of situation. At least the Luxe Hostal had hot showers.
We had dinner at Paddy’s, the Irish Pub, and burgers and wings never tasted so good. Then we finally, gratefully, tumbled into bed.