As mentioned previously, Val was horribly unwell the day we left Cusco, she survived the morning trip to the ruins at Pisac, but fortunately we checked in to our hotel at Ollantaytambo before visiting the ruins there, so she could duck out of that, I climbed the 241 steps straight up to the top (and I wish they had a slide to make coming down easier!)
It was a 5.20am departure to the train station, but we hadn’t slept, so the earlier the better really. It’s a night I want to forget, I had been running round ouside in my pyjamas at 3am looking for more toilet roll! Val was so weak we took a taxi while everyone else walked. The train ride was nice (and Val happened to have the seat nearest to the toilet!), and we were able to check in about 8.30am so Val could get some sleep.
The group trip to Machu Picchu wasn’t until the following day, but four of us couldn’t wait (especially with a questionable forecast for the next day), and we bought ourselves tickets and headed up, the sun was shining, but there was a massive black cloud very near, I thought we might have just minutes to get some sunny photos, but in fact the cloud broke up and it stayed nice.
Colin and Yvonne (from Yorkshire) have passed 70, but they go to the gym a lot and it was me and Kiia (from Finland, 30), who were asking for rests! I haven’t suffered too much with the altitude (unlike some in our group), but you do get breathless far more quickly, lots of short breathers are needed. We climbed up quite a long way, got the classic views of Machu Picchu. I persuaded them we should carry on to the Inca Bridge – about 30 minutes walk, not too steep, but narrow with a sharp drop. A nice walk, and we returned safely. We could have had a wander round the main buildings of the site, but a crack of thunder in the distance, and the knowledge that our guide would be showing us round them the next day persuaded us to leave. A good decision – the queue for the buses lengthened dramatically just after we go there, but we got on just before the heavens opened.
Val had slept lots, and managed a bowl of soup while I had a late lunch, she was well enough for a bit of supper too. The weather forecast suggested the 5.30am bus was a little pointless (too cloudy), we left at 7.40. Knowing I had some nice photos in the can I was quite relaxed about the “late” start. The weather was rather cloudier than the previous day, but still some sushine. Our guide was knowledgeable, but monotone. He finished at 10.30am, and we split up to do different things. Some did the longer hike to the Sun Gate, we stayed with a few others to visit some of the buildings the guide had pointed out, then Val and I decided to climb higher. She was feeling very weak, and I just wanted to get her high enough for the classic view, but she was determined to make it up the watch tower, which she did. It was lovely sitting up there taking in the view, thinking of this and all the other fantastic places we’ve been. Of the BBC’s “50 Places To See Before You Die” programme from a few years ago, this is somewhere in the mid 30s for us, and there’s now only one of the top 20 we haven’t been to (the Golden Temple of Amritsar)…
We’re actually in an internet cafe (and I’m following the football, 3-1 at the moment), I can’t add photos from here, we’ll try to sort that later.