The train for Aguas Calientes left at 9 a.m. After a delicious breakfast of local yogurt and fruits, eggs, bacon, toast and more coca tea (it’s still doing the trick!) we stepped outside of our hotel doors and into the train. The kids kept saying how much it reminded them of the train in Harry Potter. We were on the Vistadome train which meant that we not only had a view from the windows but also a view of the mountains from the roof. The scenery was breathtaking and the 90 minute journey flew by. Sean and I sat across the aisle from my parents and the kids. It was a much needed break after all our together time. Pa and Oscar bickered in their usual style, arguing over who would keep a mandarin on their side of the table in between playing poker on the iPhone.
We were met at the train station by our hotel and our luggage was loaded into a cart for the short walk up hill to the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. The hotel is set on 12 acres above the train station on the mountainside by the river. The hotel rooms and common areas are laid out bungalow style around the property. The spaces are furnished with dark wood and white washed walls, candles and local textiles. Sean, the kids and I are in a gorgeous room with a sitting area, fireplace and three beds, one bed (grown ups called it!) overlooking the forest.
My parents are next door with a patio. It is one of the most beautiful hotel properties I have seen. We quickly discovered that unbeknownst to us, the property not only has a sauna (promptly booked!) but also a freshwater swimming pond and hot tub so we set out on search for bathing suits in town. That was an adventure! My mom, Sofia and I managed to find suits at a toy store of all places. The woman pulled out a dusty plastic bag from the back filled with bathing suits. (Hopefully new? Not sure.) We all managed to find one in our size-ish. No pictures of us in those suits will appear on this blog! Sean, my dad and Oscar found their suits at a hostel that also apparently sells bathing suits.
The town of Aquas Calientes is your typical tourist town full of shops, small restaurants and bars. It’s a bit rough around the edges and a walk around and lunch was enough for me. The mountain side vista is a nice distraction. I have put in my time staying in hostels and eating at places where they lure you off the street with menus in English and the promise of a cheap meal. I am happy to pass the torch to the next generation (good luck, Sofia and Oscar, you are getting spoiled right now!).
We returned to the hotel for an afternoon nature walk which took us around the property. We saw several different types of birds native the area. (Sean and my mom were very excited about this and plan to return for a bird walk tomorrow morning at 630 a.m. No thanks!) We also saw some wild orchids. The plant life here is amazing and despite the altitude (only 6,000 feet, nothing!) the air was so fresh it felt like you were taking in pure oxygen. After some tea by the pool, followed by a glass of wine we are ready for the sauna! The dark comes early here: sun sets at 545 p.m. So I guess we will be swimming by the light of the millions of stars in the sky, hoping to stay awake until dinner.
(The wifi has been so slow it’s nearly impossible to upload photos, tons to follow!)