August 9th, 2015
I was still a bit sleepy that morning. It was only my second day in Peru. Arrived the previous morning, I spent the whole afternoon and evening exploring Lima Centro’s area. Absolutely jet-lagged, I rushed to Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport catching an early morning flight to Cusco. Little did I know that it turned out to be my most scenic flight by far. It left me speechless with breathtaking sunrise over the Peruvian Andes. I could not ask for more, my morning was made right there on that plane.
I got more excited as I landed in Cusco; my heart screamed: HERE YOU ARE, CHRISTINE! It felt so surreal that I just landed in Cusco; The Capital of The Incan Empire.The city that was mentioned so many times as one of the best places in the world to visit. My adventure in Peru had officially begun. I was on my first leg of the trip to get to the top of my bucketlist: Machu Picchu!
The Geek Note: It took about an hour to get to Cusco from Lima. There are plenty (like 40 or more) flights serving Lima-Cusco VV daily. You sure have lots of choices!
My friends and I had pre-booked a transport to get us to Ollantaytambo Train Station directly from the airport. We would then catch a train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Pueblo (or also known as Aguas Calientes). Our pick-up was already outside the airport by the time we arrived. Our driver was so nice and helpful. His name was Percy and I would like to recommend him to anyone needing private transfer around Cusco (I still got his card!)
Percy and I surely had a (hilarious) moment as soon as we met.Oh yeah, it was because my luggage was the lucky one to be strapped ON TOP of the van! Well, we were a party of four and it seemed that the trunk was too small for all of our belongings, so one must be out! I panicked as he only tied the handle of my bag with some sort of rug he found in the van’s dashboard. Oh no, Percy, you gotta strap my luggage with (at least) a real strap, and strap it real good, Señor! I started to made up Spanish word along the way. I kept on saying “La ropa, por favor!”, repeatedly, hoping that he would understand that I need him to tie my luggage with a real good and strong rope. Turned out “la ropa” does not mean rope at all (for sure, LOL) Well, my friends and I had a very good laugh about this “la ropa” incident. And I still do laugh pretty hard as I wrote this down.
Miraculously, I got that point across very well as on the way we made a stop at a house (I was pretty sure it was his) and he got out of that house with a proper strap to make sure may luggage would not move along the way. Gracias, Percy! That meant a lot to me!
The Geek Note: I highly recommend to book a private transfer if you were planning to get to Ollantaytambo train station directly from the airport like we did. Why? Because you gotta took a highway with so many stunning views and with a private transfer, you can pull over anywhere and anytime you want to take pictures! But make sure to keep track of your own time, okay? Always be time conscious, especially when you got a train to catch!
Percy safely drove us to Ollantaytambo train station. It took approximately 2.5 hours from Cusco airport. We departed at 7 and arrived at 9:30 in the morning. As the train would depart at 11:15 we had some time to have brunch. Mr Chef Andino Resto was our choice. Well, it was the nearest from our drop-off point, and still on walking distance from the station. We had papas fritas, huevo frito, and my daily fluid-intake in Peru: Mate de Coca. That was a good brunch!
Finally, it was time to board the train. We chose Inca Rail train company for the journey. Honestly, by the time I was onboard, that was when I realised that we actually booked a first class coach! It was really spacious, clean, and you got a glass-ceiling coach to enjoy the view. Moreover, they served us a three course meal and it was delicious! That was my first time enjoying Pisco Sour (south american style cocktail, with Pisco as main liquor). Service was nice and professional.
Finally we arrived in Machu Picchu pueblo at 1 PM. Really an enjoyable 1.5 hours after hours of traveling, a great way to start a great adventure. A much needed train ride I suppose for the four of us.
The Geek Note: The Inca Rail Executive Class Cost US$ 57/pax from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Pueblo and US $ 60/pax from Machu Picchu Pueblo to Ollantaytambo.
Arriving in Machu Picchu pueblo I am in great need of sleep and a shower! Thankfully, that’s exactly what I got there. I totally passed out that whole afternoon. I remembered that I had papas fritas (again) for dinner that night and ate it half asleep on my bed. I don’t sleep when I eat, note that! That meant I was super exhausted and jet-lagged. I only think about one thing whilst eating those potatoes; that the next morning a big day awaited: Machu Picchu Day! A day I would cherish forever.
to be continued…