South-America Tour – Cusco & Machu Picchu 1

After our rainforest adventure we were heading back to Cusco (we landed there once before when we flew to Puerto Maldonado). The city you must go to when you want to visit the Machu Picchu. Moreover, there are more inca ruins around Cusco that are also worth visiting. When you are in Cusco you have to be careful. Not because of the criminality, but because of the height. Cusco is in about 3400 m height and the air is getting extremely thin there, especially when you are not used to it. Short 20 m sprints felt like a 2 km run and taking stairs was as if you were climbing mountains. Due to this reason I planned a couple of days in Cusco before we visited the Machu Picchu. Travel guides warned for altitude sickness. Of course it was me who suffered from altitude sickness. During the first night I woke up soaked in sweat with a dizzy and nauseant feeling. I had two choices, either to vomit or to regenerate by drinking water. I chose the latter and only remember that I drank from a 1.5 L bottle. I got waken up by Laura, questioning why I am pouring water all over her. Obviously, I fainted and poured the whole bottle of water into poured bed. Luckily, there were two beds in our room. That was the only worse thing that happened in regard of the altitude sickness. Nevertheless, after that experienced I refused to make fast runs, etc.

Before we visited the Machu Picchu, we spend 3 days in Cusco. We did a round trip through Cusco, which is definitely worth is. We got to the suburb of the city were you have a beautiful view all over the city. Moreover, you see a lot while walking through the city center. At the markets some pig heads smiled at us and it can happen as well that you are suddenly trapped in a parade. Dressed people with funny and scary masks, in colorful armaments, young and old were dancing on the streets.

Another day we made a trip to Pisac, a city near Cusco. Pisac consists of two parts: the city with houses where people are living and the old inca ruin, located on top of a hill. To get there you can either take a cap or the much cheaper bus. We decided to take the bus. It was a real adventure, the bus was stuffed to the absolute limit, which was in my opinion already reached 5 people ago. Squeezed between locals that unhurriedly breast fed their children, we arrived at Pisac. We could immediately see the hill with the inca ruin where we were about to climb on. The hard work (3 hours of climbing) was rewarded with stunning panorama and views.

After three days we finally got to Aguas Calientes, the little village below the Machu Picchu. We came there by train, which was equipped with broad windows, so you don’t miss any of the awesome valleys you were passing through. From Aguas Calientes you can reach the Machu Picchu by bus or walking. We slept one night in Aguas Caientes because we arrived quite late and we wanted to have a full day at the Machu Picchu. However, Aguas Calientes is a very boring and touristic place.

On the next day we finally got to the Machu Picchu. The joy shouldn’t last long… When arriving at the entrance counter, we got rejected because we didn’t payed our tickets. Apparently, I only reserved the tickets, but didn’t pay them when I planned the journey some months ago. Luckily, we got help from the residing hotel and our local travel guide so that we could finally entre the Machu Picchu. What a bust, for me as the planner of the journey. But at least you have funny stories to tell at the end. We forgot the entire struggle when we saw the Machu Picchu and enjoyed the special flair.

We drove back to Cusco by train the same evening to stay there another night, before leaving to the next destination of our journey.

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