I took a nice train, to be fair, and went first class. On the way up I met a young couple, the boy and his mother from Chile and his girlfriend Columbia. I have notes to come in the form at some time of a book I compile as I travel. Here I must keep it brief.
We had an excellent view of the valley as we rode for an hour and a half toward Machu Picchu. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to take photos out the window, so I chatted with my new friends. That's one of the great pleasures of train travel, the slow and comfortable ride with strangers who quickly become friends.
Off we went, and when we landed at Aguas Calientes, this below is the view from my hotel window of the pee-wee hill that is so small compared to Maccu Picchu that when I saw the latter I was thrilled at the thought of climbing it.
I went up in a slight drizzle.The day was warm enough, and I felt good if slightly winded due to the lack of oxygen at this altitude, roughly 9,000 feet or 3,000 meters. I wanted to go the extra mile. That was a mistake on my part. I climbed the path easily enough, but I had some trouble when I needed dexterity and agility. I don't have much of that left. I encountered a rock on the pathway, suggesting a slide, coinciding with a monster boulder on the road up, which I took by bus, middle aged sissy that I have become. This little rock should have told me, perhaps did tell me and I wouldn't listen, that there was a problem ahead.
The vista was lovely, and added a bit to my catalogue of small triumphs accumulated over a long life time of bumming around.
I spent a bit of time chatting with a couple from California, and then, having seen the view, having taken some pictures, and mostly, having made it to the top, I ventured down again.Snapping a few last shots.
I've been to many such places, though this is something extra, being so remote, in spite of the 25,000 tourists and the hustling going on all the time that made it a trying experience for me. And then it went pear-shaped indeed. I fell on the way back down and hurt myself. I smashed my left knee and lost a tooth. But I recovered in time to meet my train friends shortly thereafter, my pain and slight bleeding mostly forgotten for a time.
Here they are, and a welcome sight, indeed.
I'll post a bit more of the aftermath next time.