Travel from Cusco to Machu Picchu: I remember returning from Cusco the first time I visited, promised to return as soon as possible. I could only do that in November 2004 the meantime, And how I regret leaving them happen.
One Saturday we started journey back to the “Navel of the World,” meaning of Cusco in Quechua. Upon arrival, after the typical cup of coca tea for acclimatization, we walked to the Plaza Mayor. On the way we could already see the white Spanish adobe buildings, with tiled roof, built on Inca stone walls. We are in the midst of the bustle, noise and smells of a city of 380,000 inhabitants, clean and well maintained. The square is unforgettable: their prodigious size, stone cathedral, the church of the Jesuits, the arcades with balconies. To keep the mouth open. Cars, buses, taxis and lots of people walking in all directions. It is common to see the “mommies”, as they call indigenous women dressed in their colorful costumes, their hats and a blanket to the back loading a bus, accompanied by their children also dressed in traditional costumes and a couple of alpacas. Your job is to offer tourists pose for a photo in exchange for a few coins “money my friend”. It remains striking that most of the visitors also saw his costume: taken “outdoor” in green and beige tones, camera, backpack, South American Handbook and the inevitable bottle of mineral water. All behold the spectacular surroundings impressed. There are school fiddling and making their conquests on the banks of the square, next to Oriental, gringos and Europeans with their backpacks, concentrated reading your guides as if to ascertain exactly everything they see. It is remarkable that, despite cultural and racial mix, coexistence is close to perfection. A true navel of the world.
Arise instinctively feel like walking to discover the place. It is a safe city. Among the streets arise more squares, churches, courtyards passages, museums, etc. The Incas are friendly and treat their visitors with special respect and courtesy. Many of them speak English. By nightfall, another kind of show is presented: the illuminated city. The backlight highlights the particular features of the facades, reaching a new, different and great beauty in its simplicity. At this time the urge to take a pisco sour and sitting down to eat at a nice restaurant is also awakened. I recommend making the first “health” in the secluded courtyard of Hotel Monasterio, the most luxurious of the city. Choosing where to eat is not easy, there are many good places to do it. A knowledgeable recommended La Cicciolina, very smart, with good music and lighting, and a varied menu with dishes typical of Andean cuisine place.
The next morning we went on tour to Pisac, located 32 Kms. Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The characteristic of this place is the Sunday market. Apart from the hundreds of stalls of typical crafts, I noticed the area where the “mommies” are located to barter.’s Funny how perfectly handle the value, weight and units of their products. After a quick negotiation, Quechua course exchange their products, thank yapa regaling one and continue your tour with a -guardando similar to the housewife who travels with his car for the hypermarket distances- attitude.’s fun to discover the variety of potatoes, sweet potatoes , corn, cereals, fruits and spices that are traded. gives an idea of the wide base that supports the rich Peruvian cuisine. spend hours fast while you look, take pictures, buy something, and to kill hunger, I recommend eat a delicious cooked corn, white and large grains with butter and salt.
Back in the bus, with Andean background music, many of the passengers did not resist the temptation to show off their purchases. Multicolored hats, blankets, dolls, silver jewelry, miniature alpacas, samples of seeds, etc. All very happy and convinced that managed to negotiate the lowest price in the market. No missing lady – usually Argentina – who claims to have bought everything at half of what their neighbors paid seat. The walk continues along the Urubamba River, for a good asphalt road in the path of corn, alfalfa and vegetables both in the plane and terraces built on Inca times seen. I was struck by the good quality of the houses of the peasants. Extreme poverty but instead, building style of the place is beautiful and worthy not see. After visiting the impressive archaeological site of Ollantaytambo, prior military, religious and agricultural citadel, the bus stops at the hotel where we stay, near the town of Urubamba. We said goodbye to the other passengers returning to Cusco quite exhausted, full of packages and hearing El Condor Pasa.
To go to Aguas Calientes, a small town where there is access to Machu Picchu, train travel in VISTADOME, designed for passengers who have already left the backpack. Hostess and Azafato, dressed in blue and white, welcome us and lead us to our seats in one of the five cars full of tourists coming from Cusco to visit the ruins for the day. Most are above fifty. To my ears reach at least six different languages. They are full of energy, dressed hundred percent ad-hoc for adventure, with photographic equipment and photographic and attentive to every detail of the landscape approach.
At the entrance of the archaeological park, twenty guides start lifting flags, blowing whistles or clap to bring together the members of their respective groups. Now I experience the feeling of being part of a flock of sheep. We started to climb stone steps to get to the area cultivated terraces, from where first seen the citadel. No chance to be undaunted by the landscape that unfolds before the hearing. Between hills that rise vertically from the river the ruins unfold, perhaps built in the place of topographical beauty I’ve ever seen. The how, when, and why to give speech based
guide. The truth is to walk in groups – unless it is small and we all know it is tiring, slow and even unpleasant. Humorous, plaintive, which fail to get bored with their cosmological conceptions are more compassionate than a soul can bear. Best begins after two in the afternoon when the tourist crowds begin to go to Aguas Calientes to take the train back to Cusco. 1,200 people have entered that day and about an hour over a hundred were not privileged that we can enjoy and watch the place at will. We take to make a trek to the Sun Gate, the main entrance of the Inca Trail. Silence, contemplation and peace. We give enough time to sit and rest on the terraces with grass, take pictures, read our own guide, discuss our emotions, ask questions and reflect. The images of Neruda and the Jaivas are present.
We achieved a state of mind that one would like to keep in your ordinary life and that is exactly what we wanted to find Machu Picchu. We went down late to our hotel in Aguas Calientes. I keep calling attention to the diversity and number of people from all over the world concentrated in this place that is nothing more than a platform and a few buildings where apart from Spanish and Quechua, spoken English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, etc. The next morning we climbed Huayna Picchu, near the citadel hill, which takes part of the credit in the traditional photographs of the site. It cost up. The lack of oxygen and the requirement of the stepped trail noted. We reached the summit where we met about 20 people. No flying a fly. Occasionally the firing of a photographic machine added to the sound of the wind. We again experience the feeling of the previous evening, this time reinforced by the view of the citadel from above.
We return to Cusco in the afternoon on the same train, tired, happy and nodding sleep, At one point, our sleepiness was violently interrupted by VOGUE Madonna song blaring. Then, steward and stewardess rushed into the hall transformed models, wearing alpaca taken. I will not comment on the collection presented, but I will say that the parade is at once violent and comic, especially the “attitude” of the models and the difficulty to maintain his composure as the car shakes.
Back in Cusco we visited apart from many interesting places, the Cathedral of formidable dimensions, full of baroque altars of gold and silver, adorned with beautiful paintings of the Cusco School. It is a fact that this place must go back several times and each time to admire its treasures. A walk from the Cathedral, Plaza Nazarene, is the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, which features well mounted spare the Mochica, Chimu, Inca, Viru, Huari. In the cloister of the main courtyard of the Museum restaurant, good choice for lunch is. In any case, the Inka Grill located in the Plaza Mayor, is another excellent option. The day passes quickly in Cusco.
There is so much to see. For example, the San Blas Cusco hosting bohemia. It is best explored on foot. It is packed with restaurants, pubs, bars and places with city views. I suggest the Macondo or Green’s. The prices are lower than in the center. He has been average trip in the pipeline, but would have to write another article. This time I promise to return soon. No other’ll let nineteen revisit the Inca city of Machu Picchu and the magical city of Cusco in Peru.