South America: Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes

This is one more story about my trip to South America. But this time is a very good story with no tragic happenings.
My friends and I decided to do the 3-day tour to Machu Picchu, which included walking, biking and bus. We wanted to do the Inca Trail but apparently people book it with four months in advance so, obviously, there were no more places for us.
The trekking was really nice, we slept in two different villages, we saw amazing landscapes and we made a few friends along the way. On the last night we stayed in Aguas Calientes, a small place to stay over night before going up to Machu Picchu.
We had the option of going all the way up by bus or walking for 2 hours. We obviously chose the second one. We wanted to climb the 500 steps and get up there just in time for the sunrise. We almost “died” on the way up, not really because the steps were hard to climb or the stairs were too long, no! It was simply because it was too cold, and a second later was too hot and then we didn’t know what to do, except laughing and complaining about the stairs. It was basically the stairs fault, not ours!
Anyway, we got to the top gasping like old ladies and happy to be there. After all that effort, we were finally at the entrance of the Lost City of the Incas, yeeey!!! I guess it was about 6am when the doors opened and we were able to go in. There were already quite a few people there, but nothing compared to the massive wave of tourists that would come in two hours later.
Going up the stairs at 4am turned out to be the best decision ever, we got to see Machu Picchu before the annoying crowds, when it was still quiet and peaceful. Honestly, I had never seen anything like it, I couldn’t speak, I was amazed at what I had in front of me. The silence, the echos, the sunrise and the atmosphere itself made the whole experience incredibly thrilling. I think we all felt like that, for a long time we just sat there, on the top of the ruins, looking at it, fascinated by it.
When the sun was already high, we started a tour around the Lost City, we had a guide who took us through all the spots and explained everything about the meanings associated and how it was discovered. It’s impressive how the Incas were able to build a city on the top of a mountain 2400m high, with temples, plantations, stairways, houses and cemeteries, all built in an efficient way. The Incas were awesome!
We stayed on the site until about 12 and then decided to go down to the village and get some rest by the water springs. The day started early, we were tired and still shaken by Machu Picchu. That day was also Sofia’s birthday and we really wanted to make it the best day of the trip.
The Water Springs had a nice open-air bar all decorated with spiritual stuff. We went there for a beer, but we ended up having several beers, caipirinhas and other cocktails. The owner of the bar, Carlos, was a very nice native Peruvian indian who apparently had a love story with a Portuguese girl.
We were having a beer and laughing a lot (probably very loud) when Carlos approached us and asked where we were from. When we said France and…Portugal, he did the happiest face in the world and from that moment, a simple beer turned into a full dinner with open bar. Carlos decided to offer us a caipirinha because we were ‘very happy and brought all our positive energies’ to his bar. So, to say thank you for our visit he offered us a drink. We were getting free drinks because of our energies, unbelievable!
After that first caipirinha, 2 or 3 more came, many beers came, cigarettes for the smokers came, and lots of food came. Yes, after the drinks Carlos also decided to feed us, so he brought all these typical Peruvian dishes, including delicious ceviche and others that I can’t remember the names!
In the end, we were the happiest girls in town and Carlos the happiest Inca. He didn’t let us pay for anything, and kept on thanking us for being there and bringing all those energies. We wrote him a poem to thank him for being so nice and to make sure he wouldn’t forget us. The same way that we never will. After all we got free drinks for being happy!!!
So, we really ended up making Sofia’s birthday the best day of the trip!