Leaving Machu Picchu and on to Cuzco

Photo ©Jean Janssen Machu Picchu, Peru

When we finished our half day touring Machu Picchu I was wore out and thirty. We went directly to the restaurant next to the Belmond Lodge right at the entrance to the Machu Picchu ruins. It was set up for a buffet and fortunately, our group had reservations. It was a clear, hot day but I had been afraid to drink much since the only toilets were outside the ruins entrance gate and there was no reentry. Most members of our group were hungry, but I just wanted to keep thinking water and then a Peruvian soda that was on the buffet. I hardly ate anything at all.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Exhausted, we all got in line for the bus back down the mountain after lunch. The line actually moved pretty quickly; we didn’t have much of a wait at all. The hotel was going to deliver our bags to the train station, so once we arrived back in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) we had free time to visit the bars and souvenir stands before the train ride back to Ollantattambo From there we are taking our bus to Cuzco. At this point, I wish we just had the direct train to Cuzco.

Photo ©Jean Janssen Machu Picchu, Peru

Carlos showed us the layout of the city and where the entrance to the train station was although it was too early for us to get in. Neither Boris nor I felt much like shopping, but sitting in a bar near the station, hydrating, and watching the crowds sounded like a good plan to me. We saw more of the sherpas loaded down with gear for the Inca Trail while we passed through the marketplace.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. View out the train window leaving Machu Picchu.

When the luggage arrived, we made our way into the train station to wait. There were lots of passengers waiting for multiple train departures. It is obvious that some people hike up to Machu Picchu, but take the train back down and it was much more crowed than when we arrived yesterday. Wow, that was only yesterday. It seems like so long ago given the amazing experiences we had visiting the Lost City of the Incas.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. The demon dance aboard the train from Machu Picchu to Ollantattambo

There were more steps and some difficulty handling luggage, so just be prepared if you are leaving from the Pueblo station. Once on board, we found that instead of the relaxing ride and looking out the windows, we were going to be treated to some entertainment. A dancer dressed in costume and mask appeared and danced down the car to piped in music. She was dressed as a demon according to Harvey, our Incan guide. After her own performance, she decided she needed some audience participation.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. Boris dances with a demon, Machu Picchu Pueblo, Peru

It came as no surprise that she selected to dance with Joe. However, guess who was her second victim, I mean partner. Thats right. Boris. He danced with her back and forth down the aisles. Hysterical, but he looked like he was enjoying himself. Of course, I got some video.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. Searching for glaciers outside the train windows

After the dancing, the staff in our car put on a fashion show. Peru is headed into winter, so none of the items we saw were anything I could wear anytime soon. That didn’t stop me from looking though. Of course after the show they came down the aisles selling the modeled clothing.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. Searching for glaciers outside the train windows

After that we settled into the rest of the ride into Ollantattambo, hoping for a view of the glaciers. I was on the wrong side for the best pictures, but I did catch a glimpse. Given all the entertainment, it felt like a quick trip back. Upon arrival in Ollantattambo, we had to get off the train quickly as it was continuing on to Cuzco. From the station we got back on the bus for our drive into Cuzco.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. Searching for glaciers outside the train windows

On the way into Cuzco, Harvey told us about the new airport planned for the city. It has been in the process for about 10 years, but has met with a lot of resistance because it is closer to the Sacred Valley and many of the people are concerned about the disturbance and perhaps damage it will cause to the area. It will be bigger and closer to the attractions in the Sacred Valley and access to Machu Picchu.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. The exterior chapel entrance at Monasterio, A Belmond Hotel in Cuzco, Peru,

Arriving in the city, we hit lots of traffic and it was very slow going. If they are going to put an airport out here they better start with wider roads and more lanes of traffic. Once we got closer to the hotel, we had to switch from our bus to two smaller vans because our bus wouldn’t fit into the narrow lanes of the old city where we are going. Our hotel tonight is something very special-although all the hotels on this trip have been amazing. As the name implies, Monasterio, A Belmond Hotel, is an ancient monastery and one of the most touted hotels in Cuzco.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. Carlos and our doorman outside Monasterio, A Belmond Hotel, Cuzco, Peru,
Photo ©Jean Janssen. Making a grand entrance at Monasterio, A Belmond Hotel, in Cuzco, Peru

Upon arrival the doorman greeted us at the front of a large wooden door. Once everyone was on the sidewalk, he opened the door for the big reveal. We were checking in in the monastery’s chapel. What a moment. We quickly got on our way. Our luggage had been delivered to the hotel prior to our arrival and we simply had to point out our bags and receive the heavy metal key to our cell (what the monks called their rooms). Although not large, the room was gorgeous with high ceilings and the bathroom made the most of its tiny space. No two rooms in this hotel are alike.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. Our hotel check-in at Monasterio, A Belmond Hotel, in Cuzco Peru was in the ancient monastery’s chapel which was set up for a wedding.

Carlos recommended several area restaurants for dinner, but Boris was so exhausted he didn’t want to go out. We ordered room service and then crashed after our exciting day at Machu Picchu and our spectacular arrival into Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Incas. The exploration of more Incan sites and this fabulous city is on the agenda for tomorrow.

Photo ©Jean Janssen. Monasterio, A Belmond Hotel, Cuzco, Peru

About travelbynatasha

I am a retired attorney who loves to travel. Several years ago I began working on a Century Club membership achieved by traveling to 100 "foreign" countries. Today, at 49 years of age the count is at 82. Many were visited on land based trips. Some were cruise ports. Some were dive sites. Most have been fascinating.
This entry was posted in cruises, international, River Cruise and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s