We are back again in Cuzco, after a trip away to Machu Picchu. It was, in short, an amazing and life altering experience.
We stayed two nights in Aguas Calientes, a town that seemingly exists solely for the "benefit" of tourists. It is filled with many crappy restaurants (along with some gems), bars offering happy hours that last three hours and offer 4 for 1 specials, and myriad touts trying to entice you to enter their hotel, restaurant, bar, whatever.
We followed one if said touts to a hotel that on first glance seemed okay-ish, but which turned out to be a pretty shit place. One of the windows in our room, rather than opening onto a street, a plaza, or a courtyard, seemed to lead directly into someone's kitchen. All at times, we could hear people talking, yelling, babies crying--all of human existence. On the upside, this morning our bathroom smelled like freshly brewed coffee, so waking up was somewhat easier.
Speaking of the bathroom, the bathroom floor was perpetually wet, since apparently towels were not included with the room, though a bathroom was.
I could go on, and perhaps speak of the thinness of the walls, which allowed us to hear the delicate noises of a drunken group returning and the subsequent vomiting in which they partook, but I shall leave my description of this place here. Suffice it to say that we were not overly impressed with the place, though the price was nearly unbeatable--12 bucks or so a night, in a town known for fleecing tourists.
Yesterday, after a fretful night if sleep in this oasis, we awoke at 4:30 in the morning, to get ourselves online for the bus to take us up to Machu Picchu. The reason for this absurd wake up time is this: Only 400 people a day are allowed to climb Wayna Picchu, the huge and very steep mountain that appears in the background of nearly every picture of Machu Picchu. The view from there is spectacular, and in order to be one of the lucky 400, one must get to the site early to receive the stamp of permission to climb it. Luckily, we made it, and had the joy and true honor to climb that beautiful and venerable mountain, following paths and stone stairs laid down by the Incas over 500 years ago.
The view was spectacular, and after enjoying it for a while, we climbed down via an alternate route, which led us through jungle-like vegetation, past wild orchids and begonias and bromeliads, down impossibly long ladders made of tree limbs and along thin rock trails that hugged to rock faces, and finally spit us out at the site of the Grand Cavern and the Temple of the Moon, both spaces in which the Incas built temples within pre-existing caverns, following and working with the natural shape of the cave.
From there we walked back to the main site and spent a lovely few hours hiking around the ruins, walking up top to catch the iconic and perhaps best vista of the site, and photographing llamas. We even got a video of a couple of them engaging in some attempted llama coitus, which I shall try to include below.
And now, after another night in our lovely hotel, we are back in Cuzco, ready and excited to head out tomorrow for Puno, the main destination on Lake Titicaca, which is the highest lake in South America, and I believe the highest navigated lake in the world. We shall be at over 3800 meters, which is about 11 and a half thousand feet of altitude. Hopefully we won't suffer too much, though we have certainly felt some effects of altitude this far (we are currently at 3,300 meters) and we expect to feel something more with an added 500 meters.
That's all for now, amigos. I am going to try and attach some photos below, as well perhaps a video. We have been taking most if out pictures with a camera, so this will be only a small smattering of what we have seen. Enough, perhaps, to entice you for the final report when we return home.
Machu Picchu with Wayna Picchu in background
My feet after day at MP
Beth after a day at MP
Attempted Llama Sex