One of a lifetime journey.
10 years ago, I made one of a lifetime journey. I called it Round the World in 30 Days. Lonely Planet sponsored me a year Round the World trip but I can only make it in 30 days ! One of the places that I visited is Machu Picchu in Peru. My mind keeps recalling this journey and I decided to rewrite the untold story. Maybe I have something useful to share.
After more than 24 hours and 5 flight transits, I finally arrived the capital of Peru, Lima, alone. As I will take an early morning flight to Cusco in the next day, I slept at the airport for a night instead of troubling myself to go back and forth into the city. And it’s not worth it, for you to depart at 3 or 4 am to the airport. You could either miss the flight or the taxi will charge you more than double. The most important thing is your safety when you’re alone on the road. Remember the common sense rule; never go to the dark place alone. In this case, it’s traveling alone at 3 or 4 am from the city, which I avoided.
The next day, I left Lima for Cusco on a 1 hour and a half journey with TACA Airlines (now Avianca El Salvador). Through the window, I saw a thick white cloud covering the high mountain ranges. Then it took around 10 minutes or more to make the landing. This time, we fly near the mountain and thick cloud is still there. I love this adventure. It makes me feel like Indiana Jones.
Greeted with a smile.
My arrival is greeted with a smile by Hotel Casablanca‘s staff at the airport. She then guided me to the minivan for the hotel. This is the first overland transport that I took after more than 48 hours leaving my hometown. At the hotel, I was greeted by a humble hotel owner with a genuine smile. You will feel like staying at home. I love its Spanish interiors and room decoration. On the same day, I collected and made payment for a train ticket that I booked online (PeruRail.com) a month before at Wanchaq PeruRail Train Station, Cusco. If you prefer over the counter payment, please make sure you collect it at least a day before the trip.
A retro feel of Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, was once the capital of the Inca empire and is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. Set at an altitude of 3,400m, it’s the gateway to further Inca sites in the Urubamba (Sacred) Valley and Machu Picchu.At 6.15 am, the train left Cuzco and made a zig-zag move uphill before heading northwest to Aguas Calientes. Along the journey, you’ll see a common scenery; an old man in retro suit, donkeys, women in traditional costume, market, clay house, corn field, rivers and mountains through wide glass windows. This is one of a lifetime journey. Some of the travelers dropped at Km.88 for Inca Trail, a multiday trek not for the faint-hearted that ends at the mountain citadel of Machu Picchu.
Upon arrival, we’re greeted by many tour operators and hotel staffs. I didn’t find that they are pushy. I had a good grill for dinner, shopping at the local market and a good stay overnight at this small town in the valley where Vilcanota river runs through.
To Be Continued with Machu Picchu experience….