Machu Picchu

Early Saturday morning we took a van to a train station and a 4 hour train ride down to a town called Agua Calientes (Hot Springs) 8000ft above sea level. From there we took a 30 minute trip up to Machu Picchu where we will had a two hour guided tour of the Inca ruins. We stayed until around 5:00 and got home about 9:00. It was a amazing trip.

The Incas built the site around 1400 AD and abandoned it about 100 years later. Walking around the site we really had a sense of what it had been like living in this isolated small area surrounded by huge mountains. Our guide was good. I had read most of the information in the travel book but she provided that information and more. It was a beautiful sunny day, around 70 degrees. Everyone who went was glad they did. It was not cheap but it was worth it.

We had to take a train and a van home. On the train there was entertainment which was scary and cheesy. One of the conductors dressed up and wore a mask that was a little clown and a lot scary (I had a nightmare about him that night and cringe when I see the mask in the markets) Then there was a fashion show featuring alpaca wool garments. You were of course encouraged to buy the garments. The van ride was nice because we drove through small villages and saw some of the night life. There was a parade on the highway that seemed a bit dangerous. The stars were bright which was unusual because the moon was almost as bright as the sun. If the moon had not been up the stars would have been absolutely amazing. The moon made it possible to see the snow on the mountain peaks.

Some sites on the way to Machu Picchu. I took the picture of the outside of the train from the bathroom. Shu-Chen, Ricardo and I posed for Ricardo's camera at a train stop.

The cute but touristy town of Agua Caliente (we actually had a nice meal there before returning). The man sitting next to me on the train was a Spaniard who works for the cell phone company - Telefonica. He was very nice and gave us some good places to visit in Lima. I took his picture next to a Telefonica ad.


Looking down at Machu Picchu at the start of our tour. Katie and Sarah had been encouraged to pose this way when they visited the pyramids in Egypt. We insisted that the do the same here.
Tati and I posed as we did in a similar setting in India. Sarah and Susan from MIT. Susan had bought a new SLR camera cheap the day before and was very excited to use it. Tati and Miyako both protected from the sun.
Florain, Miyako and Shu-Chen strike some dance poses.
Fun with Llamas.

The train ride home. Tell me that guy isn't scary! I took the last picture while waiting for the van at the last train stop.