Existing Member?

Where's Jonny? Care to dine with me? You would think that 11 years of daily food tasting for a living might put me off?......au contraire! Chomp away with me across 6 continents. Seduced like a bloodhound to the scent of good food, I anticipate the misty waft of steaming broths, the satisfying crunch of mudbugs and the vibrant aroma of freshly pulverised lemongrass. Buon appetito

Train journey to the sky - Machu Pichu

PERU | Monday, 8 October 2007 | Views [2417]

A stunning train journey from Cusco to Machu Pichu across the Andes

A stunning train journey from Cusco to Machu Pichu across the Andes

I've never shyed away from exercise.  I have even been known to drink Lucozade sport - but when offered the choice of a gruelling 4 day hike over mountains that make Lamas groan OR a spectacular train journey through the Andes, I opted for the latter.

Our destination, Machu Pichu, was 4 hrs by train from Cusco and covered some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable, even from the carbon filled, "Backpacker Class."

Slowly descending into the Sacred valley from above is like lowering your body into a hot bath after a hard day.  Admiring those hardworking Peruvians (every one in Traditional dress) dig terraces at impossible heights into the mountains defies medical belief.  They are fit.  very fit.  If there was a mountain digging Olympic sport, they would undoubtedly win gold.  (maybe they did, but the Spanish took it from them)

The other reason we decided to take the train with the over 60s club was our health.  Ok, ok we are both young and well, but I felt something call to me from the large, glass-fronted humidor in Lima airport.

"Jonny, come and smoke me," whispered expensive cigars from inside balsa wood boxes.

"I taste so good," came a smooth accented Cuban.

In a trance, I entered the room, and as clouds of white humidity encircled my frame, I grasped a box of Montecristo No. 4s.

By the time we reached Cusco airport my lungs were rendered useless.  My legs were jelly as I walked to the luggage carousel, then things became fuzzy and dizzy then blurry.  OHHHHHHHHH my head.

YES.....BUT......I had not smoked a single cigar. 

No, the thumping cerebral sensations I was experiencing were linked to Cusco's altitude.  At 3500 metres above sea level it commonly causes altitude sickness in people of non-Inca extraction.  Walking a few feet is like running a marathon.

Puffing and panting like a dog with asthma, I was offered a cup of the local remedy, "Mate de coca."  It looks like hot water with bay leaves although the colourfully dressed peoples of Cusco swear by the stuff.  Altitude sickness was also an excellent excuse for Maria to eat as much chocolate as she desired.

Disembarking from the train near Machu Pichu, we took an organised mini bus along precarious cliff edges and winding roads so steep that the driver carried oxygen.  Someones handbag even began to float mid-air in the bus.  There was a small white box with a red cross at the front, and, as we climbed beyond the clouds, I wondered if it contained a parachute.

At the top we took a small trek along narrow, stoney paths until we reached the famous Inca ruins.

It was well worth the 4 day trek here, errrrr, I mean 4 hour train ride.  The site was remarkably well maintained, impressive beyond words, with a truly beguiling history and symoblism. (The heavenly associations of the condor feature repeatedly in their designs, although I failed to see one of two pairs nesting there)

Our guide was hugely knowledgeable, sharing all sorts of facts that made us want to buy a book on the place.  Although one fact slightly surprised me.  It was the nationality of the man who discovered Machu Pichu.

It turns out that a chap called Dr. Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Pichu in 1911 whilst searching the area for the lost city of the Incas.

He was an American!!

It seems that the USA is not just famous for discovering the Big Mac, Mickey mouse and "the diner."

I take everything back. 

Anyway, I may have to at immigration.   My next stop?

......New york City!

Tags: Culture

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.



Travel Answers about Peru

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.