Our final trekking day we slept in until 7, awakened again by a deliciously hot cup of coffee. There is serious ice on our tent today and the entire campsite is swathed in hoarfrost. It is still very cold at 7.
We break camp and are on the trail by 9 with about 3 hours of trekking down into the village of Patacancha ahead of us.
The day warms up quickly and it is a pleasant walk across hillsides criss-crossed with llama and alpaca tracks.
We arrive at Patacancha for our final lunch and transfer by bus to Ollantaytambo where we will take the train to Aguas Calientes, the village at the base of Machu Picchu.
We say goodbye to our crew who will retrace their steps to return the horses to their village. Some of the crew will come with us to ready the equipment for another trek.
We have several hours to kill before our train to Aguas Calientes which is at 8:15pm. We visit a good quality alpaca store to pick up a few gifts for home and visit the ceramic factory of a well-known ceramic artists. After dinner we head over to the train station for the 1.5 hour trip to Aguas Calientes.
The PeruRail train service is the only way to access Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu and it offers three levels of service -- local, backpacker and Vistadome. We were in a backpacker car on this leg of the journey and I have to say that while I am generally a big fan of train trips, this one was incredibly uncomfortable. I can only guess that the seats were made for Peruvian leg lengths (read short) and while my legs are not that long, sitting knee to knee with a complete stranger in front of me was not fun. It was a squirmy, restless, grubby trip that I could not wish hard enough would be over.
Eventually it was and we arrived in the small tourist town of Aguas Calientes. After showering 3 days of grime off, we piled into bed in the knowledge that tomorrow we would visit Machu Picchu.