Pick up at 7.30am and a new guide with a name that sounded like Alora! He spoke with gusto and is a born story teller. He was raised in Ollantantambo so when we reached there he was in his element.
First stop, a llama and alpaca farm. Close up they are inquisitive faced messy haired creatures.
The drive towards the top of the valley is a sight. After so much rain it’s green and flat with crops growing toward the hills and mountains which are terraced, intact from Inca days. My how those Incas worked. Al told us that they all knew ‘no work no food’ so to the locals it was as important to grow potatoes than it was to have gold ‘ because you can’t eat gold’.
First stop Pisac. We walked up hill and got a very good story from Al about how the Incas survived. Potatoes! We climbed to the top – the guard house where the view was magnificent.
Next stop the town and a rather good look at a jewellery shop with explanation of the design, materials and stones used.
As it was Valentines Day I was spoilt with a pair of silver and mother of pearl earrings.
Onto lunch at a hotel that was Monastery. A beautiful place in a very humble town. Mind you we could have stopped at any of the road side roast guinea pig stall to try the local delicacy.
He was so excited to tell us about the 200 steps we would walk to the temple, the faces that can be seen in the rock face, the point where the sun appears on summer solstice. He explained how clever the Incas were to be able to transfer rock to such high places, to cut it straight. To join it without mortar. Impressive.
There are several trains going slowly up to Machu Picchu. The top shelf ride is the Hiram Bingham. It’s expensive. We had decided on the next class down. But I was so disappointed.
It was hot when we boarded. We weren’t seated together. I was on the aisle next to a big bear of a man and across from the toilet. Not a good place for a view. Steve was a row in front. On the aisle as well. He offered to swap but I stuck with my bad seat and after a while struck up conversation with Carl, a most interesting Austrian man. A retired naval architect. He’d lived a lot in South America and had with him 14 other Austrians. He was their tour leader.
We chatted most of the way. He was a font of knowledge and funny as well. So my bad seat turned into a good seat. Never can tell. Steve was quite jealous. No view though!
Our flash hotel had sent someone to meet us and carry our 5 kg bag to the hotel. We had a suite. Very nice. It’s a good 60 step climb to our room with its heated outdoor spa pool. I wanted to stay in the room for dinner but we were meeting Barry our swim trek friend, who had arrived in style on the Hiram Bingham train!
Our guide also met us and we made a plan for the morning. We are hoping for fine weather as it’s raining steadily tonight.
It was Valentines night so we made a lovely threesome in the dining room by candlelight, eating our 3 course included in the tariff meal.
Too excited about tomorrow to sleep. So listening to the rain and imagining.