Because we have volunteered to take the later train and switch to a bus at Ollantaytambo (while the others take the “dome train” all the way back to Cuzco), we have some time to wander around Aguas Caliente – or Machu Picchu village, as the local officials insist it should be called.
If you read any travel guides for Machu Picchu, you are likely to think that extra time in Aguas Caliente is not a good thing. However, we were out shopping last night and I am fond of this little tourist town.First we bid goodbye to the hotel and our room – the hotel wasn’t much (hot water would have been nice), but the gardens and our view of them were delightful.
The village itself is a series of stepped “streets” lined with tourist shops and restaurants. It exudes a cheerful goodwill and the surrounding mountains make the little village seem cozy and welcoming.
Below the city’s sloping streets, the Urubamba River tumbles and boils. A broad walking path allows us to wander along the river’s bank, providing a close-up view of the ferociously flowing water. It is an amazing stretch of white water.
Back in the village we settle in at a restaurant across from the hotel, order a round of pisco sours, and await our turn to board the train.