Aquas Calientes after the Trek
We spent the afternoon after arriving at Machu Picchu, walking around the amazing site. The architceture from all those hundreds of years ago is quite unbelievable. How did they move those 3 tonne blocks of stone, polish them smooth and them cut them to interlock with the next one? How did they work out the rerticulation system from the spring on the adjoining mountain? How did they make the trapezoid windows and doors, knowing they would be more earthquake proof?
Truly a feat of great magnitude.
The group had arranged to meet for lunch at a restaurant in Auas Calientes. Some agreed to do so, some were not sure they would be finished their exploring of Machu Picchu. So speeches and goodbyes were said with some deep emotions from all. Again it is hard to describe the bonding that occurs when you achieve something so great together. I don't for one minute suggest we went through the hardships that soldiers at war go through but I now think I understand the emotions and bonding that some of my Vietnam Veteran friends describe.
From Machu Picchu we took the bus down the scary windy road to Aquas Calientes, a delightful city set in the fork of 2 large rivers. We had booked a special night at Rupa Wasi , an eco lodge in Aquas Calientes. It was our 32nd Wedding Anniversary and we thought after 4 days trekking we would deserve a luxury night of accommodation and a meal in the awarded restaurant.
Rupa Wasi lives up to its reputation in every way as far as comfort, location, friendliness and food. However if you ever decide to book it don't be conned by their deposit requirements. They insisted on a US$35 deposit from us and were adamant they did not accept credit card. We had to go out of our way in Dallas to deposit it into their Bank of America account and even then it took days for them to track it down. Then upon check in - there was a very welcoming tent card "VISA". That aside it was a great place and I highly recommend it. We managed an early check in so we could have a shower and although we had to put our trekking clothes back on as our larger packs were still with the porters, we felt like a million dollars as we made our way to the restauarnt. As it turned out, everyone came and we had yet another great meal and emotional revisit of the Trek.
We explored Aquas Calientes, did some shopping the next day and by the time we were due to depart on the train the next night, we were ready to move on. There is very good silver jewellery there and high quality local hadicrafts and souvenirs in the market place by the river. The train runs straight through the city and it is quite unique to be sitting in a restaurant when a train trundles past, not more than 30 feet away. No over regulation here - kids play on the train tracks after the train passes. Ahh bring back those good old days in Australia when it was legal to actually have some innocent fun!
We hookde up on the train with a few of our fellow Trekkers, shared a red wine and a snooze on the way back to Ollantaytambo and then a taxi back to Cusco. There had been an arrangement to meet at a Pub in Cusco that night but by the time we had climbed our way back to the Walk On Inn in the rain, we collapsed on the bed and had a relatively early night. Sorry guys - we just couldn't get there.
It was during this second visit to Cusco that we explored the four historic sites up above Cusco, Saqsayhuaman etc, already described in my Cusco journal.