June 7 – Travel to Machu Picchu

We left on June 7 by a reserved van to the Sacred Valley at Ollantaytambo where we caught the Peruvian train to Aquas Calientes, the doorway to Machu Picchu.  The trip was all downhill to about 9000 ft which was designed to help us acclimate to the altitude and it seemed to work.  We had a great evening walking the streets.  The Hotel Imperico was just fine.  The weather was a bit warmer than Cusco.  We walked to get bus tickets for the morning trip to Machu Picchu.  Gerry an I elected to have beer at a local restaurant while the others went to the hot springs.  We ate at a restaurant that served Peruvian food.  This is a real tourist town and all restaurants have someone outside to convince you to come in and eat.  The guy at our restaurant had a monkey named Ricardo on his neck so I guess that strategy of his worked because we ate there.  He also offered free Pisco Sours and free nachos with amazing guacamole.  I had alpaca and it tasted like steak, but was a bit whiter.  It was marinated in some pretty strong alcohol (Everclear comes to mind) and I think it was supposed to be flambe, but they forgot to light it.  It was still good.  Served with potatoes (did I say that Peru grows 3000 varieties of potatoes?)  Back to hotel to sleep for a very early morning the next day.

Source: Mark Henderson