We caught the train to Aguas Caliente, the gate way to Machu Picchu pueblo. We got seats with a great view on Peru Rail and the ride was about two hours. Snacks of cold potatoes and cheese with couscous were served along with graham crackers, kind of a strange breakfast combination.
The train wound slowly along the river through farms and small villages and finally into the jungle where it was raining and the vegetation was overgrown and lush and green. When we got to the train station, I could see that the settlement had mushroomed in the three years since I’d been here.
The town was completely full of construction and looked ten times bigger. Hotels were going up quickly on both sides of the river and many of the restaurants didn’t even have kitchens. What happens is that a waiter takes your order and than calls it in to a central food service. It is common to see waiters walking up and down the sidewalks with glasses of wine, pizzas and burgers. The service at these tourist traps is terrible. After awhile we gave up on food and bought some Pisco.
We did find a place that had tacos and we bought a few while the wait staff was trying on clothes from a tag sale in the front of the café. The wine was served warm and the beer cold and they did not have a credit card machine so we had to go next door to cash out. Back at our very new and very modern hotel, we met with our guide Jose who warned us to be ready for an early trip to the ruins if we wanted to see Machu Picchu at sunrise.