Friday, 29 April, 2011. 15:51. PeruRail Explorer Suite from Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo
At 04:15 my watch alarm went off. We like to double the wake-up alarms to be sure. We packed our bags and went down for breakfast just after 04:30, still with no wake-up phone call. The breakfast was still being prepared, so we sat for a few minutes until the guy motioned us to eat. There were sweetish breads, ham, cheese, butter, jam, and the guy came to take egg orders in Spanish. There was no cereal. We ordered fried eggs each and received one each, sunny-side down. M. had saved half her bread roll to have it on, but I’d eaten mine already.
Some others drifted down to eat, and we quickly learned that nobody had got their wake-up calls. We told Ale, and she raced upstairs to check on everyone, then had some heated Spanish with the reception lady, who appeared in her pyjamas. However, we still managed to assemble everyone by just a couple of minutes after 05:00. Jian was the last to join us, as he was in his room watching the royal wedding (Prince William and Kate Middleton) live on TV from England!
We left to walk down the hill to the bus stop for the buses to Machu Picchu. We joined a queue in the pre-dawn darkness, which already contained several hundred people ahead of us. Buses were lined up along the street and more kept arriving and turning around to join the back of the queue of buses. The street was barely wide enough for them to do a three-point turn without falling into the adjacent river, and the footpath barely existed, so the buses blinked their lights to get queuing people out of the way as they turned.
As we waited, the street light nearest us blew. All the others up and down the street were still on. This let us see the stars, with Scorpius setting over the mountain to the west that hid Machu Picchu far above. The thin crescent moon rose slowly over another mountain to the east, horns pointing upwards as it preceded the sun. Vendors with baskets of water, snacks, and even promising hot coffee scouted up and down the queue looking for customers. We saw some of the royal wedding on TVs in cafes by the street.
The first bus left at 05:30 and people filed on to them one at a time, each bus leaving as it filled up. More buses kept coming and even though we were 400 or 500 people back in the queue, there was no danger of the buses running out before we got on one. Eventually we’d worked our way down and climbed aboard a bus, Ale showing the ticket inspector tickets for all of us.