I jumped out of bed to turn off the alarm which I set on the loudest just so that I am sure I wake up so as not to miss the bus up to Machu Picchu. It was 5am and I felt really tired from probably the lack of sleep. I pushed on and got myself ready.
Proceeded to the 5th floor to have breakfast and the entire restaurant was empty. Seemed like I was the only person staying in this low season. The staff was still preparing the breakfast by the time I arrived so I just sat there and Instagram, the one time that I could connect to the wifi (it’s not possible in the room).
When the food was ready, it came in loads and in waves! There was bread, cold cuts, coffee, scrambled eggs (with salt, what?) and cereal with yoghurt. They were not the most presentable but they taste ok! I finished the breakfast and returned to the room for a final check and a toilet visit before checking out and leaving for the bus.
The bus station was incredibly close, I could see the queue right at the doorstep of the hotel and it stretched quite far from the start of the line. Two lady staffs were there to pre-check the tickets, one for the bus and the other for Machu Picchu entry. The line didn’t move until it was about 630am and this was for the entrance time of 7am. I guessed that controls the bus traffic and the human traffic at Machu Picchu, which was not a bad thing.
The only bad thing was the weather, extremely gloomy with a ongoing but very slight drizzle and I knew in my mind that I might be in for quite a wet visit today. We loaded up the bus and it was about a 25mins ride up the mountain with many bends along the way. It was impressive driving from these bus drivers as sometimes there would be two buses sharing the same lane and it was not a big lane for these big buses! I saw there were people who tried to hike up the mountains instead of taking the buses and I applaud their bravery but I think it’s crazy to do that.
I alighted at the bus station at the top and met the group of Mexicans whom I met from the previous day train ride who were there to visit too. I bade them good luck with the visit as the terrible weather continued and went over to Belmond Hotel (the only hotel within walking distance to Machu Picchu) to drop off my bag pack and did the registration for check in first (since the rooms cannot be ready at such early hours). Then as I returned to the gate of Machu Picchu, I saw the French ladies (whom I met from the previous train ride too) who said they attempted to hike up the mountain but had to give up as it was really difficult and ended up hitchhiking the bus for the rest of the journey up!
There was a guide who approached and asked if I needed his guide services. He quoted 250pesos for one person which was expensive in my opinion for 2hrs of work but I wanted to learn about the visit and so I agreed to it. I thought I could distribute the costs by getting the French ladies to join but they weren’t keen as they wanted to visit the Inka bridge more than to do the tour.
With a rain coat on, I entered the site with my tickets purchased online(advance purchase are required because tickets can get sold out!). The guide brought me around the place and since we were walking the lower circuit that goes right into the area with all the buildings, I could see up close the details of the buildings and its surrounding area. There was another upper circuit which was more of the scenic route but with the ongoing fog, there was no scenery to speak of. Through the guide, I learnt information about the temples and the construction of their buildings, which had similarities with those of the Mayan, their way of life in harmony with nature around them, and the total lack of writings/cravings that led to a gap in theoretical postulations of what happened and what actually happened.
Before the guide left me to roam around as he completed his service, he provided some tips on where I should go in the afternoon and for Huayna Picchu. The circuit I took was a one way circuit and that meant I couldn’t get to the top terrace to take that panoramic view. But given the fog and the rain, I didn’t bother as I left my luck to the afternoon visit. So I waited for the Condor temple to open (there are opening hours within the citadel to different buildings to have crowd control and limit exposure to visitors,this temple opens from 10am to 1pm while the Temple of the Sun opens from 1pm to 4pm) to check it out and tried to photograph the “condor” before leaving the site for the hotel.
I checked with the staff and the room wasn’t ready so I went up to the terrace to have a look. There was a pathway that went a little higher, I guessed it was built that way with the idea of providing an access to some viewpoints of the beautiful area but the surrounding tall trees weren’t doing them any favors, effectively blocking out the views. I returned to use the day room toilet and I found that rather self sufficient and would be enough for me to clean up after my last visit in the morning the next day.
Went to the bar to get a drink and have asked for a cactus fruit drink which tasted a little sour, like plum juice. Since lunch buffet started at 11am and my room was a full board with full mini bar, I just went ahead to eat first.
Lunch buffet was pretty alright, although there wasn’t a lot of variety but the quality was good. The trout ceviche was really nice and so was the medallion alpaca, as informed by the guide. So good I went for a second serving of ceviche! ( the reason being that trout is freshwater and that is the freshest fish in this area for ceviche). A bit more IG update with the wifi that they had given me at the bar and then I left for the retail shops outside to see if there’s any souvenirs to buy. I wasn’t sure what to get so I left empty handed.
After all this time, the room was finally ready when I approached the reception. I was brought to the room that had been upgraded and it was big with a personal patio balcony (though I doubted how much time I would spend there). Then it was some rest time as I watched Running Men online and even a shut eye before my afternoon entrance to Machu Picchu.
I woke up close to 2pm and made my way to Machu Picchu for my round 2. This time I took the scenic route and boy did my bet on the last entry ticket pay off as this was when the sun was rose up, the fog was all but gone and the entire site was revealed in its glorious beauty! Needless to say, the entire visit was dominated with photos and panoramas. I made my way to the Sun Gate first which was about a 20mins hike up. It was easy to run of breath as the path was going uphills most of the time. The view of the mountains on the other side of the river were also breathtaking.
I made a stop halfway through the hike as I saw a couple going into an area out of bounds which had a flat surface on the rock hill. I ventured into the area as well and understood from them that there was actually the sound of the river being heard in that enclosed area! I guessed the sound waves traveled all the way upwards and then deflected there. It was an interesting experience to hear that.
The Sun Gate at the end of the route wasn’t looking all too impressive on its own but the view from there made up for it. Returned on the same route and then got onto the route to the Inka bridge. With the better weather, it looked like the route had opened up (whereas it could have been closed due to bad weather). Again walking there had a lot of stops because I couldn’t help myself as I kept taking pictures. Then I saw a llama for the first time, and subsequently 2 and more – it was photos galore.
The route to the Inka bridge was much easier but there was a need to register at a manned hut to keep track of people going that route. This route showed the other side of the mountains with the river and it was amazing too! It didn’t take too long before I arrived at the bridge. There was a gate nearer to the bridge but that was closed to prevent access to the bridge, which to me, didn’t look really that impressive nor stable to walk on. Met 2 Peruvians, a father and son maybe, and had a small chit chat with them. And they were happy to see a visitor from the Singapore visiting their country!
After the bridge, I walked back (again on the same route) to an open space with the views of Machu Picchu and sat there to chill. Started to jot down the happenings of today and it felt really great to do that, with that awesome view in front of me. However, all too often I got carried away with snapping photos and even did some photos (like some poser influencers) for fun, and was honestly happy with the result.
As the time approached 430pm, one of the staff there urged me to start walking out, slowly. i felt a little disappointed having to go so early (as I thought the site closes at 5pm), I stopped what I was doing and start walking and as I went along the way I was also snapping away. There was a field with lots of llamas and guessed what? More selfies, what else?
I came to another viewpoint and stopped there to sit down again, with 2 staff there who were blowing into a horn made of a huge seashell. I checked out how they were doing it and found that there was actually a mouthpiece that was being fit into the shell. But still it was impressive when the sound came out and out into the valleys making an echo. After some demonstrations in which I tipped them 1USD, they urged me to start walking out too.
Then it was more photos while walking till I was finally out of the site. At the exit there was a stamping station that during my earlier visit, I didn’t have a chance to stamp onto my passport due overcrowding. Now that there was no one at the stamp, I then thought over it again and questioned if that was actually a legal thing to do by stamping onto the passport? Eventually, I stamped onto my tickets instead.
Returned to the room to get a drink from the bar and finish up on jotting down on the notebook. It was a relatively easy day and time was on my site. Relaxed at my patio to enjoy my drink (as I don’t really get to enjoy the room facilities that often during a trip) but there was my neighbors who were a couple that were really loud with their lovey dovey chit chat but I guessed this place was really a romantic destination for couples. The chillness was starting to return with the evening when I retreated back into the room.
Was lazing around till it was 6pm and then I proceeded to bar for Pisco tasting, without knowledge what I was about to taste. I was the first one there and a while later, a pair of American ladies joined the table. The bartender Jose started the introduction of the Pisco, which I learnt soon enough, was actually hard liquor and tasted something like Vodka. It was an interesting demonstration with lots of laughs within the group, learning information about the Pisco and the impossible varieties of potatoes which we were also given a bowl of that to eat. I even got to learn how to mix a cocktail by getting behind the bar to do it under the supervision of Jose. The alcohol content was really high, and when I finally downed all my Pisco Sour, I was not able to have the dinner (included in my full board) and decided to return to my room to rest.
I was totally knocked out and the next thing I remembered, I woke up midway and drowsy to bath and eat some snacks from the bar (because I missed the dinner) before returning back to bed.