There are two ways to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco, you can either walk or take the train. For the fit the three-day trek apparently is a relatively difficult walk but those who I spoke to who had endured the Inca Track thoroughly enjoyed it. Whilst enjoying a coffee in Cusco Farida and I were talking to two English ladies in their late sixties who were looking forward to the trek. They had spent many weeks in England training for their trek of a lifetime. We had decided to take the train. We had a time constraint so we took the train. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The train ride from Cusco was very interesting as there was a wide variety of scenery; rural, pastoral, gorges, small and large rivers, 20,000 foot-high snow-covered Andes, Inca terraces and rural villages.
As the train left Cusco it had to climb 300 metres to 3,650 metres via three switchbacks to the plateau that surrounds the town, then on its 110 kilometre journey to Aguas Calientes drops 1,600 metres.
Some people only take a day trip to Machu Picchu from Cusco. They have only a short time tovisit whereas those that stay overnight can enjoy the site at leisure.
We had finished our tour of Machu Picchu and blissfully made our way to the bus to take us down to the small town of Aguas Calientes, which has some wonderful restaurants. Needless to say, as everyone who has been to Machu Picchu knows how wonderful it is, I am not going to belabour our feeling of being at such an awesome site. What has also remained in our minds was the trip down, which was accompanied by an unusual sort of an entertainment. The road was a series of hairpins as it descended to the town. We boarded the bus and a smiling, local teenage boy came aboard and after he had made himself known to us all he quickly got off the bus.
The bus drove a 100 metres, did a 180-degree turn and drove another 100 metres, we were now directly below the bus stop, and there waving his arms and smiling away was the boy who had previously got on the bus. Every time we were directly below the place where we had boarded the bus, the teenage boy was there in front of the bus. After the final hairpin, I think there were about sixteen altogether, the boy got on the bus and collected his ‘tips’ from the passengers who were delightfully entertained during the trip down. He had run straight down the hill, a drop of 1,100 feet, a lot quicker than the bus, and to Farida and I he was ‘the Boy who beat the Bus’.