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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Peru Vacation Days 3, 4, And 5: Quick Update

The last couple of days have been hectic, but very enjoyable. Two days back, we reached Cusco. Right after checking in at our hotel, we were whisked off for a half-day city tour of Cusco that included many of the major attractions inside the city as well as a few archeological sites outside the city. We returned to the hotel quite late.

But, the next day was even more hectic. Right after breakfast, we took off on a tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with stops at cities like Pisac, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. When we reached the hotel, it was past 7 PM yesterday.

Today, we visited what will probably be the highlight of the entire trip. We started off at 5 AM from the hotel, and by a combination of car, train and bus, we reached Machu Picchu. We had a wonderful English-speaking tour guide who took us on a 3-hour tour of the well-preserved ruins. Unfortunately, that was all the time we had to spend there. We had to rush back to catch our train and return to Cusco, reaching our hotel past 8 PM in spite of rushing through the whole day!

The problem is that the train to Machu Picchu is atrociously slow. Running up on the Inca Trail would probably have been faster! It is a scenic trip, but the train is designed to force tourists to either feel unsatisfied with having rushed through their trip to Machu Picchu, or force them to stay an extra night or two in the vicinity of the ruins to enjoy their visit more fully.

Tomorrow, it is off to Puno by the Andean Explorer train. I sure hope this train is a little faster than the one we were on today!

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