The next day foreshadowed us no less exciting impressions – a trip to Machu Picchu on one of the narrowest narrow gauge railways in the world (the width of the canvas was 80 cm) was coming. Railway communication is very poorly developed in Peru. The two lines of Cusco – Machu Picchu and Cusco – Puno are used mainly for the transport of tourists. For Peruvians, prices “bite”: a trip to Machu Picchu costs between $ 180 and $ 540.
Despite the high cost of travel to the legendary city, built along the Sacred Valley, is worth it. Beautiful landscapes, various natural areas, the path along the bottom of the canyon and on the edge of a steep cliff, snow-capped peaks of mountains and Inca buildings … For three hours, while the train reaches Machu Picchu (in the opposite direction, four), you should not be bored.
There are two stops on the way: in Ollantaytambo and where the route starts along the Inca trail (if desired, you can walk 55 km along the mountain paths to Machu Picchu in four days) …
And finally, the train arrives at the final station. sitting on the bus, we were in anticipation of an early meeting with the school, but … we had to stay at the station for almost an hour and a half – the road was blocked by the striking high school teachers who had come here from Cusco. The police was inactive, we waited patiently.
Fortunately, it was customary for Peruvians to go on strike on a schedule – at 12:30 AM – lunch and docents settled down at nearby restaurants, and we finally set off.
The road to Machu Picchu is a winding serpentine on the mountainside. In 30 minutes the bus rises to a height of about 400 meters. Along the way, there were lovers of extreme travels (or to save money), for them in some places stone steps were laid, which made it possible to cut the way to the top.
After going through all the formalities, we went up to the observation deck and the legendary city opened before us in all its glory. He turned out to be the way I imagined him — beautiful and mysterious. The truth of such a shock as from Ollantaytambo was not here – Machu Picchu is well “promoted” and photos and video clips with his image on the Internet can be found in large numbers.
Although for me personally there was one surprise – I imagined that the city lies in a valley surrounded by mountains, and Urubamba flows to the left of the central cliff. In fact, Machu Picchu is located on the left side of the canyon. The river in this place makes a steep turn and bends around the “central” rock.
By the way, the number of tourists passing into the city is limited to two and a half thousand people, and only a hundred are allowed to climb the central summit. The popularity of the route along the Inca trail is connected with this – on the fourth day the group around seven o’clock in the morning descends to the city from a nearby mountain pass and gets the opportunity to be among the first in line for the ascent.
Another option is also possible – to arrive the day before, to stay down at the hotel, and early in the morning to take the first buses to Machu Picchu.
After passing the ticket control, you can wander around the city as much as you like, the main thing is not to be late for the return train.
Surprisingly, with all the “openness” of the city’s facilities, there were several “forbidden” zones, where tourists are not allowed under the pretext of “better preservation”. True photos from above, make you think differently – maybe there is something there that they don’t want to advertise. So on the sacred stone inside the temple of the moon one can see a clear straight trace, as if from a grinder or a milling cutter, rolling onto the side wall.
In Machu Picchu there was an object, the existence of which I did not even suspect – this is the so-called desire stone. Flat, almost two meters in height, he gathers crowds of people who believe in omens …
But of course, the Temple of the Sun makes the most vivid impression, in which you can observe the three building techniques used in Machu Picchu: the Incan masonry, the megalithic pentagonal masonry and the “plasticine” technology.
Going down to the station, we had lunch at a restaurant and went to the market, located right at the station, to buy souvenirs. At that moment, the heavens opened up and a stream of water collapsed on the Sacred Valley … Those who remained at the top got soaked through. And I concluded that it was “our” trip: before and after any weather troubles occurred in such a way that it did not bother us.
On the way back, another adventure happened – the train suddenly got up and stood an hour and a half. Later it turned out that the locomotive had broken down in front of us, and the locomotive had to be hauled up to Cusco, which was sent by a shunting diesel locomotive.
Sitting in the middle of the Andes in a cozy trailer with emergency lighting, Alexander and I started a discussion about the problems of developing democracy in Russia and Ukraine (our Ukrainian fellow traveler turned out to be a big fan of talking about various political issues). And suddenly, for a moment, having become silent, they laughed at the surrealism of what was happening.