Almost everyone I talk to has either been to Machu Picchu or wants to go there. No wonder it is on the list of the new seven wonders of the world. Being there is surreal, getting there is a process. Some people choose to walk for several days to arrive at the wonder. Our trek encompassed miles and miles of planes, trains and automobiles. The flight from Lima to Cusco gets you in the mood for mountains. High ones and lots of them.
Landing in Cusco is an adventure as the wings of the plane seem to skim by the up close and personal mountains all along the landing path. They say you should stay in Cusco a couple of days before going to Machu Picchu to get used to the altitude, it could make you sick. The first night there I woke up hyperventilating with numbness and tingling all over my body. In my sleep I didn’t realize I was taking short, rapid breaths to accommodate little Oxygen. I actually felt fine and got my breathing under control with just a little concentration. Take a look at these elevations.
The railroad cuts out the four day hike, and we were riding that train all the way to Aqua Caliente or Hot Water. In comfort, the train offered great views of the surrounding mountains.
Last stop, Aqua Caliente, a small town with lots of hotels and bed and breakfasts. Ours was down at the end of the railroad tracks. We went next door to a small cafe for our breakfast. Lunch found us walking up a huge hill laden with shops, traders and restaurants where you could get a burger with fried onions on top.
Continuing on up the hill you could rent a swim suit, if you didn’t have your own, and jump into a large square pool of heated water from the hot springs. The next morning it was up before dawns early light and on the bus that would take us up and around hairpin turns, sometimes making a three point turn to get around a corner. Breathtaking sights to behold, and believe me we held our breath more than once when our bus going up, met their bus coming down and had to back up a little ways to let the other bus by, all the while looking off the edge of a cliff. That is process I’m talking about.
The sights were jaw dropping amazing! Coming in from Cusco, some of us are not feeling up to snuff. I feel OK, but had to take medication for nausea this morning and am drowsy. Kay has not been able to eat supper or breakfast and Harry is looking pale,moving slow.
We are looking at magnificent mountains around us, and are standing on a terrace trying to fathom the scene before us. Kay and Tom are in front, Dick and I are behind them and Harry and Linda are to the left behind us. The guide is telling us all the things guides talk about, but I can’t understand most of what he is saying, let alone retain anything he said. Linda comes up from behind, taps Dr. Tom on the shoulder and whispers, “Harry needs help.” We quickly go over to him. He is passed out in a sitting position with his back up against a rock and his legs tangled behind him. Working quietly we get him into a better position, I am fanning him, trying to get him more air, and he comes around, but we know his Oxygen level is low, the medics arrive and he is taken to the sick room where he spends most of the day on oxygen.
Linda stays with Harry, but encourages us to walk around and see the sights. Tom stays with them for a time and Kay not feeling well herself stays behind for a time as well. Someone has to get the pictures. Dick and I keep up with the tour. Climbing up, walking down, ducking under, and gazing over shear cliffs. Have a look for yourself. The pictures say it all.