Saturday, November 3, 2012

Salkantay Trekking, Finale!

I wish I could stay in Machu Picchu for a whole day, just being there. I don`t want a guide to tell me his version of the truth, I just want to be there. I would have loved to put up the little red tent, and spend the night. Sitting with Johan and Marco, and talking about the possibilities....

We slowly walked back to the little town, Aguas Calientes, ( Warm Water) and we knew we had all the time in the world. We followed the river, until we could see all the hotels and restaurants and little shops through the trees. We are thinking of going to the hot baths just to relax all our sore muscles, and to reflect on what we experienced these last five days. After that we would be starving, and could enjoy a good lunch at one of the many restaurants! Our train was leaving only at a quarter to six, and it was only around three!

We checked out the menus of the restaurants along the way. Our luggage was stored at the hotel, and we popped in to get our towels and swim wear. For some reason Johan thought of asking for our train tickets at the hotel desk, where our guide left it for us, while I was trying to find a towel!

Oh boy! We are leaving within less than an hour! Our guide, who bought our tickets the morning,  did not bother to check or bothered to inform us of the change of departure. We got into the first restaurant with a nice pizza and a cold caparina and a tall beer for Johan!

Marco was a bundle of nerves! Gordon and Sarah! Where were they? Were they still at Machu? How could we possibly find them? He ran to the lobby to check whether they took their train tickets, but the tickets were still there! He forgot he was hungry!

About twenty minutes later, we saw them strolling down the street! Marco was so glad! They had just enough time to grab their bags, because they went for a massage and lunch, and were on their way to the hot baths!

We reached the train station, and enjoyed the trip to Ollantambo! I regretted that we couldn`t spend a day there as well! The town was beautiful, and I could see some more ruins. We shared the train with a lot of tourists doing different trekkings and similar trekkings, and visiting Machu Picchu.

We reached the station, and of course all the other groups were met by someone with a board saying their names! We stood around like orphans! No one to collected us, to take us to Cusco. But we found a taxi, and negotiated a price (70 sol), while Sarah got hold of our agent in Cusco, Rider. No apology later, someone came up to us. He was not impressed by our negotiating power, and only wanted to pay our taxi 50 sol! Ok, about half an hour later, they threw some people out of their taxi, to make space for the "family" to go back to Cusco!

I will spare you the further details, of trying to set up a meeting over two days with our Agent at Bioandean. Only standing in front of a closed office and later excuses of not meeting with his group to listen to their grievances at least!  Jabu did come to our hotel, just before we left for our supposed meeting at two, as we`ve arranged with Rider about nine o`clock that morning via email. But Jabu was only there to collect their duffle bags, which we were supposed to take to the office. He sincerely apologised to Johan for his behaviour.We were not upset anymore about the whole situation, just amused! Sarah and Gordon left a day later than us, and no one even bothered to fetch their duffle bags! A couple of times they went to the office with and without us, to talk to Rider, and to return the bags, but with no success!

All I know is that they were recommended by Trip Advisor, and all I know is that I will not recommend them to any one! Rider did contact us eventually via email some time later, and sent us a 30US$ voucher to refund us our lunch!

We found many Tour Agents in their little offices all over Cusco, and they were offering excactly the same Salkantay Trek for 190US$! We paid 390US$! They do not include your sleeping bag, but you can rent it. They might have a slightly different menu, I don`t know.  I just have to share with you our experience!

We didn`t allow it to spoil our memory, maybe it created an even more juicier story for my grand children! Machu Picchu and the whole five days, being challenged physically, being enticed by Nature, being loved by new friends, will stay with me forever!

We found Sri, with his sprained ankle, and enjoyed a "family" dinner that night! Sri flew back to London, to heal at the side of his beloved Jude!

ps. Other Tour Agents to consider-


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