Plan on going to Machu Picchu someday? Don´t do it like this…
Said goodbye to my German buddies Sepp and Martin, who had to return to Alemania.
Climbed a good climb over a ridge to exit Cuzco, then a good downhill on the other side. Fantastic paved road, not a lot of traffic, slow easy climb until a small town with ruins. I skipped the small ruins determined to arrive at the grand daddy asap.
From the town with the ruins there is a short climb and then a HUGE downhill, maybe 20 kilometers?. This downhill covers a good portion of the day’s ride and makes the ride from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo a relatively easy 70-to 80-kilometer day.
After a few kilometers of dirt roads between Chilca and a town simply called Kilometro 82 I found a family to lock my bike in a closet for 5 soles, or 1.30. Talked about the possibility of walking to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu, from 82. Locals said it’s a 5-7 hour walk, so basically a marathon. Igual. I had to get there, and I couldn’t afford the gringo train.
I had plans to wake up at 4am and run the last section along the tracks, but some locals said i might as well try to get on the Peruvian train tonight just to see what happens. After all, they reminded me, I’m not just a tourist. This tour is volunteer work AND I was robbed, so the employees might cut me some slack and let me on for the $1.50 local price without paying the $30-something tourist price tag each way… it was worth a try.
I kept my head down as I tried to board the first train so they couldn’t see my blue eyes. The dark skinned people in front of me got on the train no problem, no ID check. I was stopped at the door. I begged and pleaded and explained my heart out. No.
90 minutes later I kept my head down as I tried to board the second train. They must not have seen my blue eyes. I sat down, kept my head down. The doors shut and the train started to move! You can’t back a train up; I was on my way to Machu Picchu! But there were problems. Read the rest of this entry »