TBT: No Hot Water in Aguas Calientes
Originally posted: July 29, 2009
Location: Aguas Calientes, Peru

It has been an interesting three days. Some things have been great, and other parts have been more “adventurous”. Monday morning I met up with the group I would be doing the Inca Jungle trail with, and they are all great. There is a group of 5 Chilieans from 2 different families, 3 Irish, 2 English, 1 Peruvian, and 1 American (me). In total, 12 of us and then with our guide, Frank, we make 13. We’re all between the ages of 17 and 23, except for the Peruvian, we’re not sure how old he is. Basically, everyone gets along really well, lots of laughing and joking. Monday, we took a bus ride to Ollantaytambo, and then to Arba Marga, or something like that, the highest point of our trip. We started riding bikes then, almost all downhill, from 4,000 meters. I’m not sure what it is in feet, but we were very high up and even saw the snow covered mountains. It was lovely riding down the hills, enjoying the scenery. After about 2 hours, we stopped for a little while and rested. After that, it got more interesting. We rode on a “dirt road”, which was actually a rock road, with tons of rocks for miles and miles. Luckily, there was usually a strip of sand and dirt sans-rocks on the side, so we rode on that when we could. It was still mostly downhill and we went quite fast, sometimes a little too much. Two people fell off, but no major injuries. It was much more of a challenge to stay on your bike, so I didn’t enjoy the scenery as much. But as we rode, the air warmed up and got more humid, becoming quite pleasant in a tshirt and pants. We arrived at some Inca ruins and learned about the ceremonial grounds we stood on, and then went on to Santa Maria, the town our hostel was in. It was a quiet evening; I roommed with the Chileans and learned more about them and I think they’re just fantastic. They’re on their winter vacation and decided to come visit Machu Picchu, and they’re long-time family friends. Tuesday was an early morning with breakfast at 7am and we were on the road by 8am. We hiked for a long time, first flat for a little while, then up up up up and away! No really, we hiked up so much, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it. But I did, and we saw some beautiful views. We hiked along a mountain side for most of it, down a few roads, and over some rivers. I decided to forgo the box that went over the river, in favor of a bridge. Too high! After much hiking, we arrived at the Thermal Springs, basically a large natural swimming pool. It felt great after a long long day of hiking, very soothing. We had some trouble with our hostel since it was Peruvian Independence day, but eventually we got beds. Not enough, but beds nonetheless. I shared a bed with one of the Chileans, Marie-Jesus (Mari-he-sus) and it was fine. Not ideal, but do-able. We’d all spent enough time together so that we felt comfortable enough sharing rooms and beds. This morning we woke up early and started cracking again by about 9am. We walked for about 3 hours in the morning. Well walked and hiked. The first hour was kind of miserable, I was still tired from the day before, but during the next two hours, I got into a rhythm and just powered through the rest. We arrived at lunch feeling pretty good, and had a nice leisurely lunch. After, we began our hike again. We walked up a bunch of steps to the train tracks, and just started following them. It wasn’t too bad, but very very long. We followed them for 8km, which is about 4 miles. It took us about 2-3 hours, and I was so exhausted by the end. Also, my sneakers have pretty much bottomed out, so stepping on the rocks was down right painful. But we made it to Aguas Calientes, the town that you need to pass through in order to get to Machu Picchu. That’s where we’re headed tomorrow, early early in the morning. I don’t think I’m going to hike Waina Picchu, the mountain that over looks Machu Picchu cause you have to get going at like 3am, and that just does not sound like very much fun to me. But I’ll have all day at the ruins with a 2 hour tour, and by this time tomorrow will either be back in Cusco or on my way back. All in all, it’s been an incredibly long and exhausting hike, but I’ve made lots of new friends, learned a lot of things about Ireland, England and Chile, and even learned some things about Peru too. Time for dinner! Meal time has become my favorite time of day, essentially. The Incas say hello. -Kate

Categories: Peru, TBT

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