The morning after arriving in Cuzco, Sunday, Yuri and Roxi gave us a ride to the bus station. It wasn’t really a bus, but a colectivo, a minivan in which they cram as many people as possible and strap all your stuff on top. Because we’d bought our tickets so late, we had to leave from a farther station, which is why we needed to take the colectivo to get there. So we arrived in this tiny town called Ollantaytambo around noon, and then were able to take the train to our final destination of Aguascalientes.
To see just how remote Aguascalientes is, and some of the passes that we had to cross to get there, check out this short video: Train to Aguascalientes
While in the train on our way to Aguascalientes, we got to meet some really fascinating people. Two of my favorites were Natalia and Señor DeBere. Natalia is a Russian national, but has been living in Norway for many years. She was traveling throughout Peru for about a month, all by herself – and didn’t speak a word of Spanish. Whew. That’s either incredibly brave or terribly stupid, I can’t decide which. Completely blows out of the water the pair of girls that I met in the plane on the way to Lima who were winging it together around Peru for 2 weeks :). The other interesting person was Señor DeBere. Señor DeBere was from Chile, and on vacation with his entire family. Super nice, super friendly, we had a lovely conversation with him almost the entire 1.5 hour ride to Aguascalientes. And we actually got to see him twice more, once in the city and once in Machu Picchu itself.
The train runs right through the center of the town – for someone who almost never sees trains, it’s pretty cool to watch: http://youtu.be/BDanlIohm-o
Upon arrival, the first order of the day was finding a place to stay, as we had no idea where we were sleeping when we got there. I’ve got to say, although this whole traveling without any sort of plan at all is difficult for my type-A personality, it’s also rather fun. I enjoy being spontaneous and flexible and just seeing what life throws at you and taking it one day at a time. It’s certainly a great way to force someone who’s wound too tightly to relax a bit! 🙂 After finding somewhere to stay, we went and checked out the huge handmade craft market, one of the few things to do in the very very tiny town. I even did some haggling for a few gifts while I was there! I was proud of myself – I find haggling incredibly difficult to do, and generally just don’t bother buying something if I’m not willing to pay the full price. But hey, this is how it’s done in Peru – when in Rome, right?
Anyway, after taking freezing cold showers (especially ironic considering the name of the town) we went to sleep early. The next day, Machu Picchu, was gonna be a long one, and we wanted plenty of energy to enjoy it!!