Cusco to Aguas Calientes by train.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I have about zero experience with train travel.  I have also commented about how much I love the colorful Peruvian textiles.  Imagine my delight when the attendants on the train set our little tables with these wonderful table runners.  The ride between Cusco and Aguas Calientes is approximately four hours.  One goes to Aguas Calientes in order to access Machu Picchu via bus.  We spent the night in a tiny hotel called RupaWasi in Aguas Calientes.  Attached to the hotel was an outstanding restaurant called The Tree House.  Both the eco-hotel and the restaurant are very high off the ground and we had to climb many steps to get up there.  (No elevators.)  The rooms were sparse, but charming.  The food was the best we had the whole trip, in my opinion.

We arose very early after our one night in Aguas Calientes in order to catch an early bus and sunrise over Machu Picchu.  It occurred to me that I should get a photo of the steep stairs we had to navigate so I took this one.  That’s fellow traveler Jan at the foot of the stairs with a smile on her face as she anticipates the day ahead of us.  She wasn’t disappointed.  Nor was I.

Below is the first picture I took when I arrived at Machu Picchu.  It might have been a better shot with a better camera and a better photographer, but I love it dearly just as it is.  It was breathtakingly beautiful. The sun was just rising and had not yet burned off the fog and vapors that usually accompany mornings in the mountains.  If you look lower left in the photo you can see a little of Machu Picchu.

The photo below makes me grin.  This stone monument is a place that Shirley MacLaine mentioned in a book or maybe on her website, or maybe both.  According to Ms. MacLaine there are sacred sites in various places around the world, and this spot at Machu Picchu is one of them.  I think you’re supposed to get some sort of energy or vibrations from it and that’s what all these people pictured here are trying to feel.  There was such a crowd around it that I didn’t try to feel it.  It’s now roped off.  I guess that’s to keep one person from getting all the vibes.  🙂  It was interesting to hear the comments.  One person said, “Well, I don’t feel a thing!”  Another person’s comment was, “Oh, man!  Feel that.  It’s amazing.”  I couldn’t help wondering if the latter was getting a call on his cell phone.

Here, as everywhere, I found myself people watching, and listening.  My very unofficial tally told me that the tourists in Peru sounded as if they came predominantly from The United States, the UK and Japan, with a fairly large number of Spanish speakers whose nationality I could  not discern.  I have not done any research to verify or dispel my theory

Here we are back down in Aguas Calientes and ready for refreshment.  You can see by our smiling faces that we had a good day.  The one brave male who completed our little quartet is noticeably absent from this picture.  It wasn’t because he photographed the three of us sitting here.  A restaurant employee did that.  He was probably seeking refuge from the rest of us.  I have to admit that I’d had enough togetherness at that point, too.  I imagine we all had but I must say that it was nice to share the wonders we encountered that day with other human beings.



When can I go back!?


20 thoughts on “Cusco to Aguas Calientes by train.

  1. Thanks, Cat, to you and S for honoring and flattering me in such a kind way. I remember looking at an award in a past post and asking readers how to post it on my site. Caroline was accommodating as she always is, but still I didn’t figure out how to do it. I have decided finally that I’m very grateful for the recognition but I never seem to get around to following through with my part of the process, so I should just say “many thanks” and let it go. So…many thanks.


  2. Hi Pat
    Along with Secret World of S., I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award (you maybe already have it?) Anyway, I believe you deserve it, You can pick it up from my blog post Unexpected Honour (Parts I and II). Congratulations! Cat


  3. Thank you for this beautiful post, Pat!
    The table-runners look marvelous! Such amazing colors! The picture you took early in the morning is very beautiful! It’s like a fairy tale landscape, isn’t it? However, I think I’ll have to give traveling there a miss. I’d probably end up with breathing problems. I’m glad you could cope well with the thin air and the steep stairs. It shows you must be quite fit.
    I do think you’ll enjoy wearing the alpaca sweater, Pat. There are a few alpacas being kept here in Australia. They seem to be suited to Australia much better than the sheep. We know a place in the highlands, a few hours drive from where we live, where products made of alpaca wool are being sold. A few years ago I bought there an alpaca wool shawl. It’s orange, beautiful warm and wears very well. I love it!


  4. Hi Pat. Welcome home. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I have read the Shirley MacLaine book and seen the video and several of my friends have been to Macchu Pichu. One felt the spirit as described by Ms MacLaine but the others didn’t. So I guess it is what you expect when you go to these spiritual places. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


    • Thanks Judith. I’ve never read any of Shirley MacLaine’s books but I do admire her work in films. She’s a marvelous actor.

      I think you’re right about our expectations when we travel. I traveled to the Andes expecting them to be awe-inspiring, hope-giving, and historically spiritual as they have been, and continue to be, to the indigenous peoples who have lived there over the centuries. I was not disappointed. I would return tomorrow if I could.


  5. Ahhh.. another wonderful post. I love your photography and it is such fun “traveling” with you. More, more, more, please.


  6. Fantastic trip. I wonder how thin you found the air at the top. I remember a British disc jockey dying up there through heart failure brought on by breathing difficulties and the memory has always haunted me, although it remains on my dream list of places to visit. Thanks for the lovely photographs.


    • Hi Ducks! That’s a very good question. I had not worried about the elevation issue until I noticed my daughter was fretting over it. I just assumed I wouldn’t get sick. I decided I should pay attention to the advice of travel gurus and guides. They advise travelers to allow for a couple of days of acclimatization at a “lower” elevation such as Cusco. Drink lots of water. Drink coca tea and eat coca candy. Coca is of course illegal in this country but I didn’t have to worry about random drug tests back home. I did great, even at 16,000 feet. The air seemed fresh and clean.


    • Hi Cat! I did buy a few things–see my response to Caroline above.

      I would love to go back and stay for a few months. Ahhh, but there are so many places I haven’t seen so I doubt I’ll return to Peru. I’m starting to need another lifetime. 🙂


  7. Fantastic trip. I’m feeling very envious! Now perhaps that’s where I’ll head for!! I’ve decided I need a holiday – as in a holiday away from studying!!

    Did you buy lots of textiles?


    • Hi Caroline! I would encourage you and all adventuresome souls to go to Peru. You’ve been working hard. Take a break! Go for it!

      I did buy some textiles. I love the feel of baby alpaca yarns so I bought some for next winter’s projects. I also bought a baby alpaca sweater (hoodie). I look forward to wearing it. Maybe I should take a little trip to Canada and parts north so I can wear it sooner. I got a very colorful table runner/shawl/whatever I want to do with it–and other small things. The entire country is pure “eye candy.”


  8. Oh Pat this sounds like just a wonderful trip. I need to catch up on your posts as I’ve been desperately trying to get all my coursework done. I look forward to catching up. I thought the textiles were wonderful, beautiful colours. It certainly sounds like a trip to remember.


    • Thank you, Jacqui. It was a wonderful trip. I know what you mean about playing catch-up. I’m still trying to read all the posts I missed while I was traveling. I’ve finally had to acknowledge that I have to let some of them go. And I agree with you that your coursework comes first. That and your family.


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