After leaving the AMAZING hotel we stayed at, Mum, Dad, Lex and I headed off for the train station to begin our quest to Machu Picchu. We boarded the VistaDome train which gave us 360 degree views of the scenery and landscape.....only trouble was that I was asleep for the majority of the trip as I was slightly ill. However I heard all about how magical, beautiful and all round gorgeous the views were. The train tracks led us on a journey following a wide, gushing river through the base of the valley that looked up at the most stunning mountains, that would eventually lead us to Aguas Calientes which would be the starting point to seeing the breathtaking Macchu Picchu.
We checked into our respective hotels and while Mum and I checked out the markets (somehow they never get old), Dad and Lex went in persuit for the perfect pub and enjoyed a beer. We decided on an early dinner and night so we were well rested when we woke up bright and early to meet up with our tour guide, Victor, at Mum and Dads hotel. We all walked down to the bus stop, bought our bus tickets and were driven for 25 minutes up the narrow, winding road to the entrance of Machu Picchu. On the trip up we enjoyed watching all the hardcore trekkers hiking up the mountain who were resting every 20 metres from the struggle of it. We got to the top only to realise that Lex and I had to buy our entrance tickets at the BOTTOM of the mountain. So we jumped back on the bus headed back down the narrow, winding road, bought our tickets and did the trip all over again 2 hours later. Back up top, Mum and Dad continued the tour and we were to meet up with them later, so we had our tickets checked and we headed towards the entrance.
Without our guide and unsure of where to go first we headed up to the hut that overlooks the site and is where you take the postcard perfect shots simbolic of Machu Picchu. As we stood at the top we looked down onto white clouds....however minutes later the clouds lifted and the beauty of Machu Picchu revealed itself to us. Nestled between mountains and with views of the river Machu Picchu stands with mystical granduer. Lex and I watched the "dance of the clouds" (as Lex called it, hehe) untill we got hold of Mum and Dad and met up with them. Dad considered himself quite the guide after their tour and decided to fill us in on the information that we missed out on. At this point we ran into Brad, an Aussie guy that we met on our Sacred Valley tour and so we had another member to the group to check out the sights and views with us.
After a short stay of 6 hours up the top and taking in the amazing vibe of one of the 7 wonders of the world, we decided to head back down to grab some food with Brad and freshen up with showers. Brad was leaving that afternoon so had already checked out of his room. He and Lex showered up back in our room... separately, and headed to the bar for a drink while I caught up on my other three sisters the Kardashians on the hotel TV. An hour later we said our goodbyes to Brad and headed over to Mum and Dad's hotel for some dinner and drinks. Mum and I got slightly typsy on gin and tonics and Lex and Dad enjoyed a couple more cervezas and we had a great night reminiscing on the trip so far. After many laughs, we called it a night to yet again get up early to embark on our everest, which was Waynu Picchu, a huge mountain that looms over Macchu Picchu however offers incredible views. Well, we were climbing that baby and when we got to the base, Mum and I wondered whose Einstein idea it was to agree on such a mission. Yet, much to our dismay, we were there and we had to do it, so we started our quest up the mountain that would offer us an hour and a half of ridiculously steep steps, thin air and dizzyness. Yet, up the top, every second was worth the effort!! Again we witnessed the "dance of the clouds" (haha) and was presented with not only views of Machu Picchu but panoramic views of the whole valley that literally took our breath away.....and it wasn't because of the high altitude.
Right up the top we had to shuffle our way through jaggered grey rocks to find a position to sit and relax. However in doing so we had to manouvre ourselves around inconsiderate tourists who would stop in the most ridiculous places to put on their jackets or beanies or whatever other piece of accessory that was utterly pointless. We found a spot and nesstled down to enjoy the views. Moments after asking a young guy to capture this awesome moment on Dads' camera, we heard numerous screams and frightened cries from up above and realised someone had fallen. In that instant we all were shocked into the reality that someone could have fallen over the edge. We all thought someone had died and Lex even saw a body fall, Dad went to check it out and discovered that a girl had fallen however had landed on a small area where she laid apparently concussed from hitting her head. After taking a moment to settle our shaking nerves, we slowly desended the mountain passing a guy who amazingly made it up the mountain in 10 minutes with a stretcher on his back and a doctor who was struggling to breath to make it to the top to treat the poor girl.
After stopping to grab some more pictures we continued our descent with discussions on how crazy the turn of events were and how lucky she was for not going over the edge. After getting the bus from Machu Picchu back down to our hotels, Lex and I checked out and walked our sore legs and lugguge over to Mum and Dad's hotel where we soaked our tender bodies in their outdoor spa. Showered and packed, we grabbed a bite to eat and boarded the train to head back to Cusco where we were to spend the night before heading to Puno the next day that would connect us to Lake Titikaca.
When we arrived at the station we walked past a girl in a wheel chair with a bandage across her head and her ankle strapped. Relieved, we realised she was the girl who had fallen, and after noticing she was OK and chatting furiously on her iPhone in Spanish while some poor guard pushed her around, we were finally able to move on from the shock properly. The train ride was an interesting trip where we were treated by the trains staff to a fashion show and dancing. This would have been interesting if we all weren't exhausted from the day's events, so resting our heads we nodded off until we were awoken to jump off the train. Yet....why were we in Ollyantambo when we were supposed to be in Cusco. Well, turns out we were to get a bus the rest of the way on account of the fact that there was a landslide and it covered the train tracks that would of lead us to Cusco. So, after a 2 hour bus trip we finally made it back and although the trip felt much longer, we enjoyed the landscape of the snow capped mounains and surrounding villages.
Finally, at around 8pm we made it back and seperated to go to our hostel only to be greeted with no hot water and the gruelling challenge of repacking our bags......needless to say I was a cranky girl and appreciated the soft mattress that invited me into deep sleep. However.......no rest for the wicked, another early start to begin our trip to Lake Titikaca!