Monday, July 18, 2011

Machu Picchu

We woke at about 6:30 after a great night's sleep, got ready, had a quick breakfast and met Willow at 7. Persie was the tough one to get up today....Dylan was actually easy for once!

We hopped on a bus about 2 minutes from our hotel and zoomed right up to Machu Picchu. The crowds were not what we expected...even Willow commented that there weren't many people there. Willow gave us a long overview using a map that depicted the site as it might have been when people were living there, then walked us around a number of different areas...the sun dial, the schools, the 32 cornered stone, the temple of the sun (which turns trapezoids into perfect squares on the summer and winter solstices...pretty cool), the Condor again, the irrigation system, the many rocks that were cut into silhouettes of the mountains, the history of the Incas, etc. It was a good hour and a half tour. Willow clearly knew his stuff and was proud of his Cechuan heritage. He spent a little too much time talking at points for the kids, but overall, was very knowledgable.

We then headed back down the mountain to Aguas Calientes where we got on an 11 am train for Ollantaytambo. The ride was good except for the fact that Alex had an upset stomach and Dylan, Mom, and Persie had to sit in the hot sun the whole way...bummer! There was also a very strange dancing show and a fashion show on the train (see the videos below)! We walked up the hill to one of the restaurants we had seen the previous day (the kids didn't like the food at the river restaurant), had lunch and then got our bags at the hotel and headed out to Cusco in an Amazonas Explorer van.

The ride was longer than we thought (about 2 hours), but we did get to stop at one point to get some sweets (sugared "pop corn" that Willow and the driver ate...they only offered us one for the five of us) and to see the mountain ranges through which we had been hiking...they are quite something!

We arrived at Hotel Mabey, checked in, took a nap, and then repacked everything for the Amazon, where we can only take 10 kilos per person on the boat to Refugios Amazonas. We then headed out to dinner at Inca Fe...the kids favorite restaurant the last time we were in Cusco. We had a nice meal there (although the bill took such a long time coming that dad stayed for it while everyone else started walking home), read some of our new bookend all crashed pretty quickly.

About two hours later (11 pm), Dylan came into mom and dad's room with a stomach ache. Mom switched rooms with him and he stayed with Dad...he was farting up a storm (thanks for bringing into my bed, D!) so dad gave him some Pepto Bismal and he soon got better. At about 2 am, he went back to his own room and we all slept out the rest of the night.

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