Day 20 Enfermo con Machu Picchu

Where Do I start?

I had two really bad nights before I got to Aguas Calientes.  I spent one night in Cuzco before I went to Aguas Calientes.  That night I had a fever, body aches, diarrhea and insomnia.  It was quite possibly the worst night I have had yet.   On top of trying to go to sleep I was hot and cold constantly.  I was in a room with other 6 people.  I’m pretty sure they heard me tossing around the entire night.  My breath was so labored.  It was awful.  I maybe got 2 hours of sleep.  I thought I lost my medications in Starbucks that night.  I had Ibuprofen and Zolpidem, I would have taken.  Turns out after struggling the 9 hours of trying to sleep I found that I didn’t lose my meds.  After going to the bathroom 3 times that night and constantly drinking water.  I took an Ibuprofen and felt absolutely better.  Having an uncontrolled fever is terrible. I maybe took another hour of rest then I got up to start my day.

I had to travel to Machu Picchu that day.  A 2 hour bus ride and a 2 hour train ride. It actually took about 1 hour and 35 minutes for the bus ride from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo.  Then about an 1 hour and 40 minutes on a train to Aguas Caliente.  I found my hostel and I got a private room to recover.  I spent that day recovering the sleep I lost the previous night.  It was well worth the rest.

I spent Saturday just wondering around and resting in my room.  I still had diarrhea but I was feeling better. I was getting better with using medications.  I took Biscuth for my upset stomach after I ate.  I got my Machu Picchu/ WaynaPicchu ticket printed for Monday. I took a walk to the Machu Picchu Museum and Botanical Garden. I walked back and rested in my room for the rest of the day.


Waynapicchu took about an hour with a 10 minutes break from the control point. It was cloudy at the top which is hence why this is the only picture. 

On Sunday I bought a ticket just for Machu Picchu and I hiked up from town. The hike to the stairs which was fairly easy since I reconed it the day before. The hike from the bottom of the stairs to the entrance took roughly 90 minutes with a break.  Before you cross the bridge to get to the stairs there will be a guard checking for your Machu Picchu ticket and Passport.  There was an American who didn’t print it out and didn’t buy a bus ticket.  He tried to get pass the guard. The guard caught up with him when he tried to bypass him. I never saw that American again!

I spent the next few hours enjoying the views.  It was truly breathtaking.  There was some rain and clouds so the view kept changing.  They say that it is difficult to predict the weather at Machu Picchu.  I saw the weather first hand there.  It changed constantly from a beautiful picture that you want capture into grey clouds that you can’t see pass 100 meters. Elusive beauty at its best.

I sweat profusely when exercise especially for this hike up.  So I was constantly cold while I was walking around Machu Picchu. If you hike up carry an extra dry shirt to change later. My misery made me leave quicker.  I hiked back down because I didn’t want to pay for the bus. I didn’t get a guide because I was cold. If you wish to know more about the history of Machu Picchu, you can see the Wikipedia page here. I used the bus the next day.

I decided to use the bus since I was going to hike Waynapicchu.  There are only two times to hike 0700-0800 and 1000-1100.  I bought my ticket two weeks in advance because of advice I took from my Peruvian friends. Even now when I check Huayna Picchu first group tickets its completely sold out for March. There are only 400 people allowed each day.  The only drag was that it was cloudy when I got to the top. It was crowded too which distracted the celebration.  I’m one that dislikes crowds. So I left to beat the exiting crowd.  Yes, I could have stayed and waited for the clouds to move for the picture perfect moment.  It was raining, cold, I was full of sweat and too many people. Misery makes me leave.



Machu Picchu. Deja Vu.


I don’t claim to be an expert at this trip.  I just know what I did well. I bought a ticket to Machu Picchu/ Huayna Picchu in advance.  I stayed in Aguas Caliente for four days.  I think that was good for my body to acclimate better to the altitude.  Plus I used those days to recover from my travel sickness. I brought hiking clothes. I saw some people wearing jeans and sneakers up the mountain. I’m prone to accidents when I’m not prepared so boots and proper clothing helped me out. A change of dry clothes after you hike.

More take aways from this trip. When you’re home, you usually have a support system, your family, friends, familiar healthcare.  When you travel alone, you make the decision on what you should you do about your health.

Day 11

I was on 11 hour bus ride from Lima to Trujillo.  The bus was extremely comfortable compared to Greyhound in the US or even a bus I took in Spain from Bilbao to Santander. Our seats were able to lean back and we had our own entertainment. It was a double-decker bus and each row had three seats. We had ample space to stretch.  We were given lunch and snack time with a service attendant. We had a pillow and blanket on our seat waiting for us as we boarded.  It felt like first class for buses. I have never had first class but I imagine that’s what it would have felt like. The scenery was very contemplative. It was full of desert coastlines and driving through little towns.  For $43 USD it was great deal. It had drawbacks though.  You weren’t allowed to defecate in the bathroom, it was only for urinating.  I didn’t understand the explanation if it was broken or if that was normal. The roads were bumpy for more than half the ride paired with the stop and go traffic. The trip took 11 hours.  I wasn’t used to being on a bus for that long.  I will think twice next time I take a bus anywhere.

Franco telling us a story about women wearing tapadas on balconies.

To bring it back to Lima.  On my last day I took a free walking tour of downtown Lima.  It was good to meet other travelers.  The only other contact I had was my host Jiu Jitsu gym and the hostel workers.  The night before I decided to be more sociable and meet people. By nature I spend a lot of time by myself when I’m at home but I don’t mind because I have a house full of my family.  I’m naturally an introverted person who doesn’t like small talk. I had to force myself to go out and go on the tour.  So I met a few German girls, an Argentine couple, and Franco, our tour guide.  I felt better to talk to people.  I enjoyed how I could speak with everyone and ask questions in Spanish/ Castellano.  If my German was conversational I would be even more happy with myself, but I spoke English with them. The Germans, Mona, Katy, Lea, and Gesa, were going to Cuzco later in the month. The Argentine couple were from a city north of Buenos Aires, I don’t remember the name. They were on a three month car trip ending in Ecuador.

Franco telling us about Taulichusco, the first “alcade” of Lima.

I recommend looking into any free walking tour if you’re ever in a big city.  I took one in Barcelona and Madrid.  They are always a good way to meet other travelers and hear the history of the city.  I have heard about the Spanish Colonization of South America but hearing some of the details and atrocities that took place. It’s very sad.  It’s one thing to hear the story in Spain and another in Peru.  It gives the city you are visiting a personal touch. You may have observations/questions that are not covered in the guide’s normal spiel.  I had a question about the facades of the cathedral having three different styles.

Lima had earthquakes so they reconstructed the buildings they were in different styles. 

Please see this blog post about introverts

It’s hot in Huanchaco but it’s a beautiful beach though. More to come.

Just outside my hostel is the Playa of Huanchaco.