By Shannon Walsh, Sales Intern
My trip to Machu Picchu started bright and early at five o’clock in the morning. As I walked down to the train station in Ollantaytambo with my sister and a friend who were visiting, the excitement really started to hit me. As we got on the train, the train attendants helped us to our assigned spots and we relaxed in the spacious seats, ready for our two hour journey to Machu Picchu. I was not expecting to be this comfortable on the train, but it was much more comfortable than the Long Island Rail Road trains that I am used to back at home in New York. The train attendants gave out free cookies and coffee, and my excitement increased even more. It could have just been the caffeine that early in the morning, or the free snack, but I couldn’t sleep the whole way to Machu Picchu. I just looked out the window and at the beautiful views as the sun came up. While you can start your journey on the train in Cusco, Ollanta is a great spot to start your journey to Aguas Calientes. It is often overlooked and skipped over by tourists, but there is so much to do and see in Ollantaytambo. The day before our trip we hiked the ruins in town, walked around the market, and had a delicious meal at one of the restaurants in town. For us, Ollantaytambo was the perfect place to explore and relax before an adventure-filled day and made our journey by train a little shorter early the morning of our Machu Picchu trip.
After about two hours on the train, passing different ruins and mountain views, we pulled into Aguas Calientes, the town just at the base of Machu Picchu. It was raining a bit, but that didn’t dampen my mood. I was about to see one of the seven modern wonders of the world!
Despite experiencing a minor bump in the road in purchasing tickets, and settling all of that, we were set to head up to Machu Picchu. When we finally got to go into the park, it had stopped raining and the sun was starting to shine through the clouds. We walked around every last bit of the park taking in all of to magnificent views. It was truly one of the best days and the weather was perfect for exploring Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes. Once our time in the park was up, we headed back down into the town to have a quick lunch and wait for our train.
As the train pulled up to the station, my body was ready for a nap. However, once we got on the train the party didn’t stop! First, they came around with a veggie pizza slice for everyone and juice to go with it. After eating that quick snack, I was really ready for a nap. But suddenly a man came out in a colorful mask, a wig, and suit while other employees started strutting down the aisle in what seemed like a spontaneous fashion show. They came out in beautiful Alpaca products. Sweaters, scarves, and coats were some of the products included; however, I didn’t buy anything from the train fashion show because Awamaki sells such beautiful handmade Alpaca products made by indigenous communities surrounding Ollantaytambo, and let’s be honest I’ve already splurged on buying gifts for my mom! Everyone on the train was included in the fun, with dancing, clapping, and purchasing items from the train fashion show. It was quite shocking to have a man come out dancing in a colorful mask and suit, but it made the train ride exciting and entertaining.
Once we got back to Ollanta from our train ride, we hopped right of the train and headed to the Albergue, a personal favorite restaurant of mine, for a delicious meal. Just what I needed after a day filled with adventures and fun.