The Road to Machu Picchu

IMG20170927205437.jpgThe Road to Machu PicchuIMG20170927164854.jpg
Disclaimer:  Exhausting, unnerving and expensive! Prepare to battle. LOL. I didn’t get this memo when I chose to join my friend on her ‘expedition’ at the last minute. So now, consider yourself warned. Ha ha.
Dubai-Madrid : 8 hours flight (Emirates Airlines)
Madrid-Lima : 11 hours flight (Iberia Airlines)
Lima-Cusco : 01 hr 30 mins flight (Avianca Airlines)
Cusco-Ollantaytambo : 02 hours by car
The air was cold and the streets deserted, as we walked out at dawn to find a tuktuk to the train station for our 2 hour train ride via Peru Rail that was scheduled to depart at 05 am (best to buy tickets online to avoid the queue. Show your passport for validation.) We brought a backpack filled with essentials meant for surviving the 5 hour hike (see list below). We were surprised to have been handed over a breakfast loot by our host when we were heading out the door; he had a take-away bag filled with fruits, sandwich and a drink. Hot/cold drinks and a big chocolate cookie were served inside the train from a trolley same as the one in the aircraft. I had a good eye-shut in the spacious 2-seater cabin but when the sky turned lighter and the mountain views visible, it was hard to keep it closed.received_10154646061022024.jpeg
There was an early morning mist and drizzle as we disembarked at Aguas Calientes station. Raincoats were selling at 5 sols and bus tickets were payable only by cash at the ticket booth (Present your passport.) It wasn’t the road less travelled after all…there was already a snaky line formed ahead of us, waiting for the bus. And the 20 minute ride was thrilling and daunting to say the least. The zigzag road is deadlier to that of Quezon province’s Old Zigzag Road.
What to bring:
-walking stick
-high altitude sickness tablets ($84 USD) OR Coca candies (10 sol)
-energy bars
-face towel
-body heat ointment
-hiking boots
-selfie stick
-sunscreen lotion
Machu Picchu is reminiscent of an oversized Minecraft game (no kidding!). The big blocks of stone terraces, vast fields of green grass and the blanket of fog hovering in the horizon were testament to this (my) realization. The nonexistent gamer in me was unleashed each time that I was on the cusp of aborting the “mission” to reach the top.2017-10-09 08.42.51.png
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Nobody came for glamour or to glam up. Sneakers, hiking shoes, hooded jackets and worn-out faces were the norms. Some came with a glow and most others with purposeful strides.
Choose the morning group for a less crowded space. The lone toilet was in the entrance and it was about a 5-hour hike so better wear an adult diaper if you can’t hold it.
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It might be the longest, most expensive trip ever, but coming face to face to this massive citadel is nothing short of incredible. It is an investment. The ultimate face-palm-pinch-me-am-i-dreaming moment worth that cha-ching.
Oh, and one thing’s for sure– the llama won’t bite.IMG_20171003_221239_228.jpg
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