We arrived in Aguas Calientes, a small jungle village at the base of Macchu Pichu, in the evening and were met by the French owner of our B&B when we arrived at the train station.
Our host asked us how we were planning to get to Macchu Pichu and we told him that we had bus tickets to the top of the mountain. He suggested that we walk up the mountain since it's beautiful and only takes an hour and a half (two hours if you're very slow, he said). Plus, to take the bus to the top you have to wait in line at the bus station for 3 hours. For our tour at 8am the next morning, we would have to get to the bus stop by 5am. We told our tour guide that we had decided to walk rather than take the bus and he told us to meet them at the entrance at 8am. He suggested we leave by 6am to get there on time. Pfsh, we thought, we're young and fit. We'll leave at 6:30. The next morning, we woke up, had breakfast, and left around 6:30. The B&B packed us a lunch to eat at Macchu Pichu and we headed out. The walk started off fairly easy and we quickly obtained two friends.
J told me not to name them so I immediately dubbed them Marlin and Pookie.
We followed them (and the signs) up the mountain, which quickly became very steep.
About a half hour into our hike/climb, we realized that it was not going to be easy. As we peeled off layers of sweaters and jackets, we noticed that we hadn't seen any other tourists on the path. We had certainly heard many people that morning and we'd seen a Peruvian family stroll up the path easily, but other than that we were alone.
The view was stunning. We watched as the fog rolled off of the peaks.
At 7:30 we realized that we needed to start going a lot faster. We could see that we were not very close to the top. Breathless and shaking, we finally came to the top of the mountain and saw dozens of tour buses and hundreds of people milling around the entrance. As soon as we got to the entrance, I heard someone yelling my name. Our tour guide was yelling that we were late. It was 7:45. He yelled my name again. "Come on, you're late. We are starting soon." We quickly got in line and made our way to the tour. The tour began with a climb to the very top of Macchu Pichu.
After an exhilarating and exhausting day, we headed back to Cusco. We spent our last day in Cusco wandering around and eating Peruvian food.