Tuesday morning we took a bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, where the Peru Rail awaited us. I sat next to an Australian woman about my age who had just traveled through the states and was making her way through South America. Next, she would make roots in London for two years as an accountant. It’s a common thing Australians do, apparently. My seat buddy knew much about American politics. I apologized for not being as well versed on her country’s current affairs.
It’s funny how you run into the same people as you hop around Peru. But, for some reason, you know them by their hometown, never by their name. That’s something I’d like to do differently on my next trip — to keep in touch with other travelers.
The Peru Rail writhes along the twists and turns of the Rio Urubamba. It’s a beautiful sight that follows you the whole way.
Standing over Machu Picchu mountain brings a surreal feeling. The Inkan wonder-of-the-world construction is built on fault lines, but it’s built well. It’s still here, after all. The stones sit so tight against each other, not even a piece of paper can get through the cracks. The stones incline 3 to 7 degrees to withstand earthquakes. White and green granite forms the mountain, which the Inkans chipped away with hammers of hematite.
Next, we drove to the town directly below, Aguas Calientes. It’s a tiny town with no taxis. Small enough to walk. We spent the night at the Hanaq Pacha Inn, right off the railroad tracks. All you have to do to be awestruck in this town is look up. Especially at night. Stars sparkle and mountains tower overhead. Everywhere you stand, the sound of rushing water dances around your ears. Children play in the streets and narrow pathways as their parents sell wares.