We boarded the train at 8:30pm, from Ollantaytambo.  The train was the called the backpacker’s train, as it was a no frills ride to Aguas Calientes.  On board we ran into the Canadian couple we had met in Arequipa.  Small world.  The train ride was uneventful, it was too dark to enjoy the scenery.  Around 10:30 pm we pulled into the town of Aguas Calientes.  Here again, expectation clashed with reality.  We expected to arrive at a train station but the train let us off basically on a sidewalk near the plaza.  There was no one from the hotel to meet us as promised, so we waited.  Soon there was no one there but us, and we realized no one was coming.  To make matters worse, we weren’t exactly sure the name of the hotel, since Torre Dorada made the reservations for us.  A stupid mistake on our part I will admit.  We headed into the Plaza, and where a some kind of festival was going on, with costumes, and a marching band.  Luckily there was an internet/phone cafe open and Dan called Torre Dorada explaining to Danny, that we needed help.  Danny, our savior, called the hotel in Aguas Calientes and a few minutes later, someone from La Pequena came and walked us to the hotel.   Turns out, it was only a block away on the same street!.  We were all so tired that we couldn’t understand them as they didn’t speak any English, and I was too tired to understand their Spanish.   We planned to go to Machu Picchu at sunrise and still needed to buy our bus ticket and admission ticket to Machu Picchu.  I was able to communicate bus ticket and they pointed vaguely out the window but Iwas getting too frustrated and couldn’t understand.  For the first time, I really felt the language barrier.  Finally we communicated a 4:30 am wake up call and decided we’d figure it out in the morning. 

The room was nice, our standard triple, (one double and 2 single beds).  We just fell into sleep, lulled by the sound of the roaring rapids across the street, when here comes the marching band again.  Seriously, it’s after midnight.  Who are they are where are they going?    Turns out it was the Tres Cruces festival which would go on all day and all night while we were there.  It was turning into a long night, so Dan and I decided we would not go to Machu Picchu in the morning, but wait until Monday.  It was a good decision.

Everything was much easier the next day.  The ticket office to buy our bus ticket to Machu Picchu was 30 feet from the hotel.  The office to buy the ticket to get into Machu Picchu?  Right around the corner in the Plaza.    We spent the day watching the Tres Cruces festival. We again ran into our Canadian friends who had been to Machu Picchu that day.  They told us what we could bring in and what to expect.  We were so excited for the next day!

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ag-8  Look at the embroidery on these oufits