Posted by: travelrat | December 31, 2017

Rail to Machu Picchu

 

Vistadome

Ollantaytambo: 17th February 2017

 If today’s outing had been to anywhere but Machu Picchu, I might have called it off, for I wasn’t feeling too good; the altitude of Cuzco affected me, I think, for I did feel a little bit better as our bus descended into the Sacred Valley to the railway station at Ollantaytambo where we were to catch the Vistadome train, to Aguas Calientes, thence a bus to Machu Picchu.

Ollantaytambo! There’s a name to roll around the tongue, and savour. But, I’ll say no more about it right now, for we’re going to pay a more extended visit tomorrow.

There are several train services, from both Cuzco and Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. There’s the luxurious Hiram Bingham train, which is rated among the Great Train Rides of the World, and is, I believe, classified as ‘if you need to ask how much, you can’t afford it’. Lower down the scale is the Inca Express, which is favoured by local people, and those on a budget. In between is the Vistadome, which we rode. It’s comfortable, large windows … and travels along the same track as the Hiram Bingham, so you see pretty much the same thing. And, we did get fed … something between a snack and a full meal.

You can, of course, walk! However, you need to book, for numbers on the Inca Trail are restricted, and it isn’t open all the time. Twenty years ago, I might have been up for it. We’d seen video from one of the Port Lecturers on the ship, and it didn’t look much more strenuous than the Pennine Way … with the added bonus that there are porters to carry your heavy gear, and pitch camp and cook for you.

When you arrive at Aguas Calientes … also sometimes known as ‘Pueblo Machu Picchu’, it’s a short walk to the bus station … right through a colourful artisan market! The Peruvians certainly don’t miss a trick, for their craft stalls are to be found just about anywhere tourists gather, and most of it is quality stuff. I’d advise don’t buy anything till you return … because, if you do, you’re bound to spot something you like better on the next stall.

Train to Machu Picchu-0

 

 


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