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Getting out of Aguas Calientes

Although the journey to Machu Picchu was fraught with anxiety and fear (i.e. “Wow our bus is hanging onto the road by only three tires!”) we couldn’t be more excited to do it all again.

Aguas Calientes left a lot to be desired. It was plagued by touristy restaurants and overpriced souvenir shops. The entire city could be circumnavigated in less than ten minutes. The only reason this poorly developed town exists is to serve as the gateway to Machu Picchu.


We had originally planned to stay one night in Aguas Calientes. This would have allowed us one morning to discover Machu Picchu before the hordes of tourists arrived. Instead, our one morning in Aguas Calientes went something like this:

Me: Uh. Dan. You know how you spent last night bowing before the porcelain throne?

Dan: How could I forget?

Me: Yes, well. Maybe next time you will make it to the toilet before emptying the contents of your stomach all over me while I sleep.

Dan: Well that’s the least of our troubles. We don’t have water.

Me: What do you mean, we don’t have water?

Dan: Just don’t go in the bathroom.

The morning continued as such. Obviously our early dawn navigation to Machu Picchu was out of the question. Instead I navigated the city for an actual “Doctor” who could get Dan out of his food poisoning dilemma. Luckily I was able to find one who was willing to climb the 493 stairs to our hut on the cliff, for a price. He gave Dan a concoction of drugs and went on his merry way.

We had several hours before our train was set to depart. Dan couldn’t move. So I abandoned him in at an Internet café while I wandered about hoping to find some sort of cute, charm that Aguas Calientes was perhaps hiding. Instead I found this.


Ten minutes later I was back at the café, counting down the minutes until we could leave this two horse town. Dan was miserable, and although I felt sorry for him, I was secretly giddy with excitement for dodging the bullet myself. Oh, but my turn would come.

Finally aboard Peru Rail Dan fell into an easy slumber, while I put the window down, propped my camera up, and set out to make the most of the situation. It was truly one of the most peaceful moments of my life. The sun was slowly setting behind the hills and the mountains gave off the warmest of hues.



We briefly stopped to allow another train to pass. It was here at this junction that a dozen or so children gathered hoping some well-to-do tourists would toss out some money, candy, or the most prized: a pencil. The train stewardess’ warned us not to throw anything out the windows, but I witnessed several people do so. The children were elated, as if a pencil was the greatest gift of all.


The train ride ended just as the sun set, it was then that we made the dark journey home in a bus that clung to the cliff side by possibly only three wheels. We survived, but just barely. Dan was still suffering from violent stomach cramps and I had the panic attack of my life. Supposedly what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, but in my case it was right around this time that my stomach started to feel not quite right. Ah. The joys of traveling.

Posted by Jennylynn 15:42 Archived in Peru Tagged train_travel

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