We started the day getting up and taking a short bus ride to the train station to take the train to Machu Piccu. The train was very comfortable and the views were outstanding as we made our way along the tracks. It was very interesting to see the reaction of the kids as they got a chance to see some very poor communities along the way. The train ride took us up to a small mountain town called Aguas Calientes which is basically the base camp for Machu Piccu. After about a 2 1/2 hour train ride, we arrived and unloaded to make our way to the hotel to check in before getting to Machu Piccu. At this point we had a pretty interesting situation take place. The whole group expect for two made it to the hotel. At some point between the station and the hotel, two from the group got turned around and lost their way. Those two just so happened to be Mr. Blikre and Mr. McNeff. Within ten minutes of them being separated, the emergency contact info was used and we were together again. Needless to say, the kids haven't really let them off the hook for getting separated from the group! Once we were together we made our way to the train station to catch our bus up to the gates of Machu Piccu. The ride was by far the most intense bus ride I have ever been on and the switchbacks made for some great pictures and sweaty palms!
We arrived at Machu Piccu around 12:30 and started right away with our expert tour guides. Freddy and Cosomel did a fantactic job of taking us around the ruins and educating us about the site. Words really cannot describe the feeling of standing on that mountain and seeing the shear size and wonder of the location of Machu Piccu. After the tours were over the group got another 2 hours to go and explore on our own. A number of students made the trip up to the sun gate and took some amazing shots looking down on the ruins. The weather was perfect and the experience was out of this world.
We made our way back down the mountain after the park closed and went to the hotel to eat our supper. After supper, some kids stayed back with a chaperone to rest and the others went out to check out more of the town. Aguas Calientes really is a beautiful small town and easily the most unique place we have stayed at so far on the trip. That pretty much wrapped up the day and what a day it was!