I have reached Cusco, Peru safe and sound! With an early rise at 6:30am I took the Andean Explorer train from Puno to Cusco. The train ride was about 10 hours and one of the pricier ways to get to Cusco, but completely worth my time and cash (my parent’s cash, that is). The train itself felt like the Titanic on wheels. There was a dining car, a coach car with a bar and couches, and a car made of basically all windows, giving you a 360 degree view of the mountains. We were treated to free Pisco Sours and folk music, and then we had lunch. A three course meal – I had pototoes with trout and chocolate mousse. Then they had a random bartending class…which I did not attend. Around 4 we had tea time. Tea, sandwiches, fruit, and truffles followed by champagne. I have always had a strange and slightly embarrassing fascination with trains, so I was in heaven.
Arriving into the Cusco area we passed through the slums, which was hard to watch while I was listening to my iPod and sipping champagne, felt a little backwards. Children came out of every direction to wave at the train and watch it pass. Once we arrived in Cusco around 6pm, I was a nervous wreck. I could see nothing but a sea of city lights that stretched on for what seemed like forever. Trembling and on the verge of tears I picked a taxi driver out of a group of yelling men and hopped in. Turned out to be the nicest guy around, repeating “no preocupas, tranquila” (Don’t worry, calm down) about 50 times before we reached the office of my excursion company. My nervous energy and tear filled eyes must have been obvious because everyone was incredibly sweet. The company even gave me a free shirt!
Tomorrow: I head to Agua Calientes where I will spend the night before heading to Machu Picchu.