Day 3. We met at the restaurant at 9:30 for breakfast and then got on a van for the ride over to where the train tracks started, where we would begin our walking for the day. I was definitely feeling those hills in my butt when I woke up on this morning,, so hearing that it was going to be all flat was music to our ears, and relief to our legs. When we got off the bus at the train tracks, we got our very first glimpse of Machu Picchu, and excitement resonated through the group. We started our walk, and then 5 minutes in Chino told us we were stopping for lunch, which was a bit awkward because we had only eaten breakfast like an hour ago… but we stopped anyway, sarcastically remarking how we had definitely worked up an appetite after our treacherous 5 minute journey.
We got to Aguas Calientes, in the early afternoon and had all day to hang out there, and we would finally meet up with Monica and the rest of the dialogue group around 9pm when they arrived on their train. The town was fun, but it was such a tourist trap full of rip-offs, since it’s where all the travelers stay before they go to Machu Picchu. We checked into the hotel Monica had originally booked for the dialogue instead of the hostel included in our trip, and we all appreciated it immensely, after having spent 2 nights in rugged, gritty hostels. I thought this night even promised me a hot shower, since I hadn’t showered since Wednesday and was covered in layers of sweat, dirt, and bug spray, but I’ll get to that later.
After arriving in the town, we decided to check out the “aguas calientes” of Aguas Calientes, which we had heard were hot springs similar to the ones we had visited the day before. But they were gross, tiled pools that smelled like urine, so we ate our 10 sol entry charge and left without going in the water. We walked around a bit, did some shopping, and went back to the hotel. We were super pumped when dinner time came around because we went to a place that had a sign for Mexican food outside. But, the choices ended up being limited to the standard chicken, lomo saltado, (and vegetarian omlettee!) per usual. Chino convinced us 4am was an appropriate time to leave the next day for Machu Picchu. We were all anxious to leave early the next morning because we wanted to be some of the first people there because the first 400 who get a stamp to climb Huaynapicchu are allowed to. The rest of the group who hadn’t come on the trek arrived to the hotel, and told u they were planning to leave for Machu Picchu at 3am. So we called Chino and told him we wanted 3am too, just to be on the safe side, since one girl on the dialogue tried to climb Huayna by leaving at 2:30am but still didn’t make the cut.
That meant an early bed time. I had planned on finally getting to take a nice hot shower on this night, and hearing other people talk about there glorious showers made me even more excited for the one I planned to take before bed. But of course, since I have such good luck, the hot water was gone when I was trying to shower. I decided just not to shower, because I had gone too long to succumb to a cold shower, and would just wait it out until I could get hot water to finally shower. So long story short, I smell real bad.