we were up and out for 8 and jane waited with us at the bus stop having decided not to come up for the full tour. I knew not to push her and she had got through the gates and seen the terracing the day before so she has been to Machu Picchu for real!
First stop was the Inca Bridge which is where the Inca trail continued but is now too dangerous to walk. It will be restored and the plan is that there will be another 4 day walk to a newer discovery that's further round the mountain that I can't spell. The bridge itself is a gap in the stone path built into a cliff where the incas put wooden boards that they could easily thrown down to protect themselves if needed. The walk round was pretty scary, I have to say, and very exposed.
We could see Wayna Picchu above MP which joe and I had been booked to do. When I'd found it at number 2 in the most dangerous walks on the planet I'd decided that life was too short anyway and a final 20 second free fall would just be a competition between either my heart giving out or landing like a splat of strawberry jam 1500ft below! I asked Juan Carlos how scary it is and he said that for him as a guide it is fine - however, when asked about the first time he said he'd been like Spider-Man and was stuck to the wall with both hands the whole way.
MP itself is everything I'd imagined and more. The stonework is incredible, the feats of engineering beyond comprehension and even beyond what I'd ever thought it could be. So many things in life can be a slight disappointment in reality but this certainly wasn't one of them!
We saw temples, houses, agricultural terracing and much more. At one point we sat for a rest and Tilly and Joe had a llama nuzzling them😊
This year the rules changed and tickets are lonely valid in the morning or the afternoon but by 12 we were ready to come down anyway.
There are a lot of tourists at MP but it doesn't spoil the visit. In its day there were around 1000 living there and now there are 2500 tourists in the mornings and the same again after lunch. It really is full to the limits as there were quite a few people trying to buy tickets having come up on the bus but were unable to get in. I had wondered why anyone would come all that way without tickets but they sell out months in advance so I suppose it's always worth the offchance to get in.
Another fun packed bus journey down and we found Jane and went out for a leasurely lunch before getting the train down at 4.20
The train is very slow and clunky but there was some entertainment and a little fashion show by the train crew to try and get us to buy clothes. It was a bit of fun and made the journey enjoyable.
The train terminated in Ollyamtambo station and our car driver had already retrieved our suitcases from the hotel and was rearing to go. It was a 2 hour journey but the alternative was the 2.5 hour longer Cusco train and then a 30 minute car journey from the station so no better!
We arrived in Cusco at 8 and went out for a lovely dinner complete with the essential Pisco Sours!