At the Mysterious Inca Land, Peru
Monday, 01 August 2011 03:07
DSC_0416Firefiles! Yes, these are fireflies! It is the first time I see them. How bright they are, like a star. I was a child the first time I heard about these flies and I always wanted to see them. The idea of spreading light from a fly body was so interesting to me besides this story was not enough convincing at that time. The books used to told about them but I could never manage to see any single one. Then where were they, why I couldn't see? I used to look for them in the gardens and fields but each time I failed. I used to keep the ones in a jar that I thought they were fireflies and expected them to blink at night time. No way, even it was difficult to see the fly itself. Thus since those disappointing days I had given up looking for these flies. Fortunately after years, at the anniversary day of our world trip, in Peru in a dark night, while walking on a narrow railway towards Aguas Calientes, I met these amazing creatures. I stopped and watched them for a while, with some reproaching. Little flies, you were here huh, just on the way to Machu Picchu...

DSC_0163Cuzco became the first stop in Peru. The ancient capital of Inca Empire turn into a tourist city nowadays, hosting 1.5 million of people every year. We were together with our Indian origined British friend Kushal during our trip in Machu Picchu. Cuzco is the closest big city to Machu Picchu but somehow it is still difficult to reach there. In order to get to Inca's mysterious city there are several ways. We chose the most convenient way for us among them. The most famous way to go to Machu Picchu is trekking on the "Inca Trail" which takes 4 days. After Peru government's regulations the number of people who can take this road is limited and it has to be reserved 6 months in advance. Besides walking on this path is not cheap, approximately cost is 500$ and it is obligatory to attend a group. Apart from this there are alternative Inca paths but they also have similar regulations. Therefore we didn't choose them. Before getting to Machu Picchu there is a town that needs to be reached, Aguas Calientes that means hot waters in Spanish. People usually stop over in this town before Machu Picchu. But somehow there is only railway to this town. And the train companies request for 140$ for a round trip to Aguas Calientes from Cuzco which only takes 3 hours one way. We thought this is kind of robbery and rejected to take the train. The last alternative was much more cheaper but long at the same time. From the mountain roads it is possible to take a bus to Santa Maria for 7 hours and after taking another bus to Santa Tereza for 1 hour following another bus journey to Hydroelectric for 1 hour. From here there is 2 hours of trekking and at last you are at Aguas Calientes. We chose this itinerary. There is nothing worse than going somewhere by tour. However we noticed that one tour agency was taking care of transportation and lodging expenses more cheap than we could cover. That's why we got this tour, wish we didn't do...
 
The road to Machu Picchu was not different than the death road in Bolivia. There are lots of sharp curves on the cliffs once I had to stop the bus because of my weak stomach. Thanks the women on the bus helped me. My son take these coca leaves you will be all right, I don't know if it was because of the leaves but after chewing them I felt better. Some tried to treat me with cologne but I like lemon flavoured cologne, that didn't work.
  
DSC_0186There is such a big demand by people to see this ancient city that people are forced to get what is served. The tour we bought showed this. The agency told us that they would pick us very early in the morning but they were so late. Therefore we had to walk at dark for 2 hours in the night time. The agency made people wait long time who were already tired and hungry all day. They made us lodge at the different hostels and with bad conditions. We already regretted that we came with this tour and our enthusiasm was getting less to see Machu Picchu. We told to the guide that we don't want to visit Machu Picchu by group and we arranged a meeting time and place for the next day. Due to organization failures it was already mid night. We had to get up at 4.30 am because it was necessary to get there early in order to see the city when there is less people. But around 5 am all people were awake at the town. Machu Picchu can be reached by 3 hours climbing from Aguas Calientes. But it has another alternative way if you pay 15$ for a round trip which takes 25 minutes. This is not the end, admission fee to the site costs 40$. If you wish to see the city from Waynapicchu hill extra 10$ needs to be paid in advance. The visits are limited by people per day. What a madness! After all of these obstacles we got a bus to Machu Picchu...

DSC_0238While waiting at the entrance gate I had forgotten what I was doing there. The gates opened at 6 am and the people dispersed in the old city. We first headed to Waynapicchu hill and climbed to the top in 1 hour from the steep old stairs. Machu Picchu city had to be somewhere down but there were only clouds. As the sun rised up the clouds moved around and the Inca's magic city appeared right there. I had already forgotten all negative things happened as soon as I saw this beauty. For me this was the best arheological site ever which integrated to the nature perfectly. The city has an altitude of 2430 meters and it was under our foots. Although the city which hosted around 750 elite Incas at those times is very old it was discovered at 1911s. We watched the scenery quite long time. The city was down and we wanted to see it from the inside. The beauty of the city becomes more obvious as you look at it from above, for me walking inside was not that impressive to be honest. As you get to the city's highest point and taking the Waynapicchu hill behind there appears the postcard views of Machu Picchu. Ok but who let these lamas walk around? 

DSC_0381We were already tired. We got down to Aguas Calientes to meet the guide and the rest of the group. However there were only Chilean teachers waiting apart from us, there were no guide even. When he showed up after several hours he told that we had to spend one more night in Aguas Calientes because there were no train tickets available which would take us to Hydroelectric. The fun was going on. It was so annoying that some people from the group managed to take this train and we were supposed to spend one more night. The explanations of the guide was not satisfying. We slept one more night at the town. Our plan's were halted. We decided not to pay the rest of the amount that we had to pay which was around 100$. The next day as we came to Santa Tereza town the guide asked us to pay the amount. We wanted to talk with agency and not to pay this amount but they were so strict. Either pay and take the bus or stay here. We stayed there. And they didn't let our friends to get on the bus also, they were just traveling with us, they paid their money. The issue was between Başka Türlü Bir Şey and the agency. Anyway 4 of us were left at Santa Tereza! We were so pissed off. We had to get back to Cuzco by ourselves. The next day we have been to the agency to tell them we were not satisfied with the service we got. They didn't care this besides they asked us to pay the rest of the amount. How could we pay it, we were forced to stay one more night in another town and the previous they we were not taken to the bus. They insisted us to pay. Of course we didn't. They were uncomfortable from the situation because we were telling how bad the service was and other customers were hearing it. From this moment things got more complicated, they started shouting and they called the police, the fun restarted again...