Breakfast starts at 0500 at the hotel, but we were in the bus and on the way to the train at 0445, so no breakfast for us! The bus ride seemed to take forever as we rode for about 90 minutes to Ollantaytambo before boarding our two car Vistadome train about 30 km from Machu Picchu. We had assigned seats and were served a cheese sandwich, small piece of cake and beverage. Each car had large windows on the sides and, as Vistadome implies, windows cut into the edges of the top of the car so we could look straight up to see the tops of the steep mountains from the bottom of the narrow valley. Ninety minutes later we pulled into the station at Aguas Calientes also known as Machupicchu Pueblo. We handed off our luggage to a representative from the Inti Inn and were soon seated on a very new and clean Mercedes-Benz bus for the trip up the mountain. The dirt road climbs very steeply through several switchbacks (visible on Google Earth) before arriving at the entrance to this incredible World Heritage Site.
Guido, our guide, did a very good job of steering us around the ruins for over three hours; we climbed and descended through the ruins giving our lungs and legs a good workout. We had a small group of eight, so the guided tour thing was easy to take. It is the rainy season now in the mountains of Peru and we were worried about the weather, but the rain held off until near the end of the tour and then was light and short-lived.
After the tour, we headed back to catch the shuttle to the village for our buffet lunch at Toto's House. The rain did return in earnest after we returned to the hotel, so RA and I relaxed in our quaint little room, while Jeanne and Gray did a little exploring of this outpost in the mountains.
The Indio Feliz restaurant, French/Peruvian owners, served up some excellent food for dinner and instantly became the best restaurant on the tour to date.
Tomorrow is a free day we built into the schedule to give us a second chance to visit the ruins if the weather was too awful on the first day. We will be staying in the valley and will visit the small museum and botanic garden before boarding the Vistadome train back to Cuzco.