From the Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes via the Peru Rail Train
It was time to continue on this journey after having stayed in the Sacred Valley for a couple of days. In order to get closer to Machu Picchu, a 1 ½ hours train ride was necessary on Peru Rail ( www.perurail.com/en/ ) to Aguas Calientes.
We ventured off to Ollyantambo to catch the train and unfortunately didn’t spend much time there. I wanted to take a long stroll through town and enjoy a meal here. It appeared to be an artistic community. We drove by a few art galleries and the shops around the plaza had the most colorful tapestries I had seen. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to walk to the plaza. As far as shopping goes, the vendors by the ruins have better prices than those in Lima. The vendors in the back rows are very grateful for your business as they don’t have prime real estate like the vendors in the front rows. I opted out of a full tour of the ruins so I could do some shopping. I couldn’t resist being that we were so short on time.
Ollyantambo still has houses dating back from Incan time and everything in this town is within walking distance. I didn’t have time to take a Chicha tour either. Chicha is a unique beverage and I “heard” it’s not very tasty but I would have like to have learned about the meaning of the flags outside the homes with Chicha available. The town looked very inviting and picturesque. Spending one night here before boarding the train would have been great.
All aboard! So just in case you forgot a gift or two, there are women selling items to you through the windows of the train. We had at least 15 minutes before the train departed and there was a frenzy in our car with last minute shoppers that bought practically everything the women had to sell. It was fun to watch.
There is something to keep in mind and I don’t know if this was just the rules of our tour or the train itself. We were told the largest piece of luggage we could take is a carry on suitcase and encouraged to only take a small bag with the bare necessities. Everyone’s luggage is stored inside the car in the center by the doors. So it would make sense that there would be a limit per person but this isn’t something I verified.
I didn’t know what to expect on this train ride and was amazingly surprised. The seats were leather and very comfortable. There was soft Peruvian lounge type music playing which added to the ambiance. A box lunch with your choice of a beverage is included. The train rides along the Urubamba River and from time to time a recording would speak to specific sites along the way. We also passed by the area where the hikers start their 4 day journey to Machu Picchu. The Incan porters are incredibly strong! All of this was quite enchanting. Knowing I was getting closer to Machu Picchu made this train ride even more memorable. I stared out the window the entire time in awe feeling very blessed.