Machu Picchu day 4 — the highs and the lows

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DSC_0030High: On Day 4, Matt, Sam and Ben got up very early to hike the famous Huayna Picchu. It is a fairly steep climb with the reward of fabulous views overlooking Machu Picchu.

Low: Totally fogged in when they got to the top. They waited a little while, but no luck and no views.

High: I got up a little later, packed up and got the younger kids ready, stored our luggage at the hotel, had a delightful breakfast, and headed to the ruins to meet up with our hikers. Amazingly, our cell phones had service and we were able to find each other via text message!DSC_0069High: We had a couple of really good hours of exploring with the kids (see previous post for lots of pictures) before….

Low: ….it started raining again and the little kids were pretty much done. We were already pretty tired by this point, and being wet brought the whiners right out. Matt and I would have stayed longer, but we really had seen the ruins by then, so we lined up for the bus.

DSC_0056High: Our little kids — especially blondie Thomas — and our teenagers — especially Sam who looks to Peruvian teenaged girls like Justin Bieber — got a lot of attention from other tourists. Machu Picchu is a popular destination for a graduation trip or “once in a lifetime” vacation for Peruvians who live in areas where they would almost never see gringoes in real life. Thomas was pretty tired of the photo ops by the end, but we thought it was a hoot.DSC_0106High: Back in Aguas Calientes, we had a few hours to kill before our train so we had a little walk and a rest in the park. (Funny: Sam stretched out on a bench to relax and was told by a policeman that sleeping is not allowed in the park. Little vagrant.) We made our way to the hot springs (“Aguas Calientes”) and look at this amazing setting:IMG_4399High: Our timing was better this time, and the rain started just as we were leaving the hot springs. We headed down to a restaurant that had been recommended and had the place all to ourselves for an early dinner.DSC_0110 DSC_0111 DSC_0108High: Matt had to try cuy (guinea pig) which is considered a delicacy in Peru. They cooked it right over the fire near our table and while it wasn’t bad, none of us are craving a repeat. All of our other  food was delicious — the guidebooks really helped us choose good restaurants in Aguas Calientes, where there are lots to choose from and some are not so great.

Low: We left just enough time after dinner to retrieve our luggage and get to the station for the last train of the day. We were standing on the platform with about 20 minutes to departure when I glanced over and saw an unmistakable look on Thomas’ face. The Peruvian cuisine had caught up with him, and to put it delicately, he needed a change of clothing ASAP. Including his shoes.

Matt and I both had amazing parental adrenaline as he sprinted to a nearby market to buy a few diapers (we were getting on a 1.5 hour train ride!) and I quickly located clean clothes for Thomas in our mess of luggage. And wipes.

High: We didn’t miss the train! It was cram-packed, but all of the passengers were jovial after visiting Machu Picchu, and our seat-mate was charming and kind to our kids, even when Mary spilled her water and had a big fit about it.

Low: Back in Ollantaytambo, we had arranged for a van driver to pick us up, which went well, but once we were on the bumpy, scary-in-the-dark road, Matt and I could tell the driver was pretty sleepy. We made it through that 90 minutes, but it wasn’t very relaxing. Once we arrived in Cusco, our poor driver struggled to locate the apartment we had rented. It wasn’t in the tourist area and, we realized later, the street sign was broken. We almost gave up, and the apartment manager wasn’t answering his cell (turned out I had printed an email with an old phone number), but we finally found it around midnight. And then we slept for a very long time.

Can you believe that was all one day? One of the longest of my life, I think!

 

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