Aguas Calientes is a strange place. Look up, and you're surrounded by misty green mountains, pushing up to the sky like mossy teeth. Look down again and you basically have a building site plus too much tourism. We arrived in the evening as the mists rolled in and had a nice evening bathing in natural hot springs and having a gorgeous Chifa infusion meal and Pisco sours at The Tree House.
What followed was not so great, and involved a tiny hostel room with a hole in the door and a loud TV in the hall, food poisoning, and a tiny corner cubicle bathroom with a door that wouldn't close. It's fair to say we bonded as a couple in new and interesting ways. BUT. The next morning we rallied and, fueled by Sprite and crackers, forced ourselves onto a bus and up the mountain road, to this...
I couldn't quite believe I was there all day. I am now spoiled for mountains for the rest of my life. The Incas managed to keep this a secret from the Spanish, and it stayed tucked away until some European stumbled upon it and promptly began carting off things to museums back home.
Oh, hai, alpaca!
And then... the rain came down.
We found a handy boulder and settled back in our rain ponchos to watch rivers stream over ruins and lightening crack over the misty mountains tops. We were so glad we stayed and got over how weak and faint we felt... the smell of a thunderstorm on Machu Picchu has got to be pretty hard to beat. Everyone else scuttled off home too, leaving us to enjoy the ruins practically alone!
G holds on to his trusty staff.
We left as the mists kept rolling up the cliff sides, thoroughly awed... and ready for a big cup of mate tea.