Aguas Calientes, Peru
After the Machu Picchu tour, I stayed an extra night as I didn’t want the stress of packing my bag at 3 am – after day one’s trek and dinner, I passed out on the super comfortable bed – no packing at night! I didn’t want to carry my bag on day 2’s tour of Machu Picchu, and I didn’t want to be overly exhausted for the 5.5 hr trip back to Cusco.
I also thought it would be a good idea to explore the town at some point.
Machu Picchu to Cusco (approx. 5.5hrs):
– About an hour wait for the bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
– 40mins zigzag bus ride
– Must be at the train station by 2:25pm for the 2:55pm train (the first afternoon train)
– 90mins train ride
– 2 hours bus ride back to Cusco
Aguas Calientes is the place where it is safe enough for the railway crossings to be without any barriers, gates or lights. The river’s walls are low enough for you to sit on, without the fear of falling over. The bridge’s fence are low enough without the fear of someone jumping over. It got me thinking, has Sydney became very safe? Everything is secured and protected, every sharp corners padded. Have we become so careless because the city is risk-adverse and it will protect us? Maybe that is why Sydney is home for me, I am a risk-adverse sort of person – I think. Have we become that unhappy where everything could be a potential weapon? Our bridges have super-high fences to make sure we don’t jump in our despairs.
There was a peaceful protest at the town’s centre last night; the locals don’t want additional vehicles in their town. There is currently only 24 vehicles allowed here. I actually have not seen any cars or trucks so that might be in reference to the 24 buses. They don’t want the added pollution or the risk being too busy; but the town is pretty much a tourist town – so this is a difficult one.
Other than the buses on one main road; the rest of the town resembles Venice (Italy), footpaths and stairs. It is a strange feeling, the mountain close to touch that gives me the peaceful feeling mixed with the hustles of souvenir shops, restaurants, and massage places trying to get you to spend money.
My lessons learned were:
– My bag was too heavy for walking exploration – next time, pack lighter or carry non-valuables so that I can leave my bag at the hotel
– Aguas Calientes being a tourist town mainly offers cafes, restaurants, massages and souvenirs
– Be prepared to spend money, everything cost twice or thrice more expensive than Cusco
– Restaurants have a service fee or tax, I was charged 5 soles at one place and 10% at another, not sure if there is actually a set amount
– Be prepared to wait at least 30-45minutes for your food – it’s prepared fresh. But it’s the culture – chill and relax