IMAGINED RUINS

A ninety minute train ride from Ollantaytambo leads into Aguas Calientes, a village nestled in the deep valley beneath Machu Picchu. Also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, Aguas Calientes derives its name from its natural thermal hot springs.

My Lonely Planet guide notes that the Puente ruins are only one kilometer from our hotel. This gets me excited, so I lead my group on an afternoon hike to find them. After several kilometers, we come across Puente Ruinas, a train station. We keep going, eventually coming across the back route to Machu Picchu. It then begins to rain and doesn't let up all night.

We retire early as we are going to be catching the 5:20 bus in the morning, the first one up to Machu Picchu. This will get us there before most of the tourists, who tend to start arriving around ten in the morning. This also means that our first glimpse of Machu Picchu will be shrouded in mist, which will slowly burn off as the morning progresses. I for one have no complaints.

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All text and photographs Copyright © 2006-2014 by Jeremiah A. Gilbert.
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