Friday, 26 June 2009

... Peru: Back To Civilization

Yay! I slept better last night.  It was still bloody cold and of course I tossed & turned yet again. Woke up with a bit of a headache and appear to be full of a head cold.  I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and when I got back was momentarily thinking "where's my tent?" because the one I thought I had left didn't appear to be where it should be.  Was the altitude playing tricks on me?  Turns out I was thrown off because my tent mate had woken up not long after I had left thinking someone was trying to get in and so she had reclosed the zipper.  That caused a mini fit of giggles at 0200hrs.

I was up at 0610hrs raring to go. Unfortunately when you are travelling in a group you kind of have to wait for everyone else. Patience is not my middle name. Once breakfast was out of the way and everyone was packed we boarded a bus that was to take us back to Ollantaytambo where we would then board the train headed for Aguas Calientes.  No hiking today and I have a bed with my name written all over it waiting for me!  Who knew that such simple things could mean so much!?!  

The road down to Lares town from the hot springs should've been an indication of what was to come for the next 3 or so hours until we reached Calca.  About 5 minutes into the ride we came head on with a bulldozer and we were the ones that had to back up precariously. I spent the entire duration of that little incident with the words "Don't. Look. Down!" playing over & over in my head.  Most of the time during this journey I would look out of the window and find myself wondering why I couldn't see any of the roadside but instead a huge drop into the valley below.  I sat there wishing I had sat on the other side of the bus... ignorance is bliss and all that.  This was surely the Peruvian version of the Road of Death!?! It was interesting that the driver floored it around the hair pin bends and yet whenever we went through a tiny bit of water he would slow right down.  Yeah, that really made sense! There were a few bum clenching-stomach churning-white knuckle moments that's for sure.  I was glad when we stopped for a quick break in Calca.  A "kiss the ground & thank the Lord above" kind of moment.  I should've been suspicious from the offset when I saw the driver had a poster of a F1 Ferrari plastered to his windshield! 

Market in Calca
We finally reached Ollantaytambo, after a stop for lunch in Yanahuara which means "dark underworld", and headed straight for the train station.  It was tourist central and I was one of them! The train departed not long after 1600hrs and on time!  Whilst it was still daylight the views through the valley & into the mountains were fantastic including those of the snow capped Nevado Veronica, the highest peak at 5822m.  

Aguas Calientes is an exploitive town but a necessary evil for getting to and from Machu Picchu.  This is really the only one good reason to stay in this touristy & overpriced town and of course to get a head start on the hordes of daytrippers enroute to the showpiece of Peru.  This means getting up even before the crack of dawn to get an early bus up there or hike if you do so desire.  Quite frankly I felt I had filled my quota for the foreseeable future when it came to the latter option aside from yomping around Machu Picchu in the morning and so bus is the transportation mode of choice.

And so I have a 0415 hr start in the morning as a result.  The things I do in the name of travel.... oh it's such a hard life.

No comments:

Post a Comment