After our cute evening round the fire with scrabble, pizza and also a game of dominos designed for four year olds, we were met at our hotel at 6.30am by our guide, who walked with us the short distance to the train station. Our PeruRail train to Machu Picchu left at 6.45am and it was actually a really pleasant journey, despite the early start. The seats were big and comfy, there were refreshments on board and we were all very excited. (Also because it all felt very Disney like, with the magic train full of excited people, with Disney commentary the whole way through) There were also huge windows on the roof, so as the train made it’s way up. we could see the vast mountains towering over us.
When we arrived, we actually weren’t at Machu Picchu but at Aguas Calientes, the town below it and from here we had to join a massive queue, going all the way up the street, for busses to the inca site. Finally we arrived and there were crowds and crowds of people hustling and bustling to get in, all just as excited as us. We checked into our hotel, dumped our bags off there with the staff and headed into the site. It’s quite a walk up steep steps through the trees until you actually get to a point where you can see the postcard shot of Machu Picchu, but being the fit fam that we are, we were there quickly and found ourselves a perfect spot for photos.
We spent the rest of the morning with our tour guide, being shown around the whole inca site, learning about customs and temples and uses of different rocks, nooks and crannys. It was an absolutely incredible tour and we all felt we knew the ins and outs of Machu Picchu personally.
At about 12pm we headed out of the site to say goodbye to our tour guide and to relax after a strenuous morning. We had a lovely lunch in our hotel (which is literally right next door to Machu Picchu), actually went to our beautiful rooms and just relaxed as the crowds passed through the inca ruins. At about 3.30pm we went back into the site and this time were even more pleasantly surprised. The millions of people had left or were leaving for the day and we were left with a wonderfully empty Machu Picchu. As a family we explored the whole site once more, playing games, running up inca built steps, climbing to different points and trying to find something undiscovered by anyone else. Eventually we were exhausted, and we’d exhausted Machu Picchu enough for one day. Back at the hotel we had some drinks, played scrabble, relaxed, had a really scrummy dinner in the hotel restaurant, and then called it a night for our early start the next day.
On this morning our alarms went off at 5am and because we’d had such a lovely nights sleep on ridiculously comfy beds, we were all up, ready and rearing to go. We had an early morning snack before joining the queue from the first earliest train of people, to get into the site. The gates to Machu Picchu opened at 6am and we ran in, finding ourselves the perfect spot to watch the sun rise. We discussed where we thought it would rise, waited, discussed some more, blocked people who were trying to be sneaky from stealing our space and waited some more… For half an hour until the tiniest bit of sun light, lit up the very tip of the opposite mountain. At about 7.30, an hour and a half after the sun was meant to rise, a bright light rose from the v in the mountains and slowly and gradually lit up the whole of the already stunning inca site, one wall at a time. It was spectacular, we were hit by the sunlight before Machu Picchu, and watched it to light up as we stood glowing in the newly risen sun. Once it was risen, our early morning start was complete and obviously we went back to the hotel for the most important part of the day… Breakfast.
After we were refuelled and once again ready to explore, we were back in Machu Picchu and this time with a mission: to hike all the way up to the Sun Gate. (This is the entrance that I came through when I completed the inca trail, and gives you an absolutely stunning view of the inca site, from above and far away). It was a strenuous, hour long uphill hike but it was SO worth it. When we got there we were blown away, not only by the sun gate itself (which was beautiful) but by the views we received of Machu Picchu. Obviously the journey down didn’t take us as long as it was down hill, and soon our time at Machu Picchu was over – absolutely incredible for the second time.
After bussing back down to Aguas Calientes, we found a cute little lunch restaurant right next to the train track and opposite a live Peruvian band. We are our lunch absolutely defend by the music as we soon discovered how loud it was, but still all buzzing off our Machu Picchu experience. This was then made even better back on the train as one of the train hosts dressed up in a creepy traditional animal costume while loud Peruvian music echoed through the train and he picked people to dance with him down the isles. Then the other two train hosts and hostesses performed a fashion show of different alpaca clothing, down the isle of the train, while we all clapped and wolf whistled, it was all very bizarre but we were absolutely loving it.
We were met off the train by our non English speaking bus driver, who, when discovering that I speak Spanish, chatted to me the whole two hour journey home. He was very sweet but by the time we arrived back in Cusco, my brain hurt from all the translating!
We went back to Uchu, the hot stone steak restaurant, so that mummy could experience it herself and it was absolutely delicious as normal. We were all completely exhausted and tired and drained that we collapsed into bed, just after quickly setting an alarm for 5.30am the next morning.
The alarms went off and we dragged ourselves out of bed, sleepily packed and headed to the airport for a flight to Lima followed by a flight to Quito in Ecuador. It literally took up the whole day, especially since our transfer bus didn’t arrive for an hour and a half after we arrived and so, back at the hotel we relaxed, played scrabble, enjoyed our free drinks, and then went out for a delicious meal in the Quito theatre restaurant.
So here I am in Ecuador, a new country for me, and this time I didn’t have to bus here, cross boarders by foot, or stay in a hostel. We flew, are staying in a beautiful little quaint hotel and are all tucked up in bed ready to have a good night’s rest before our city tour tomorrow.