The Inca-redible Machu Picchu

The Telegraph in the UK had an article about a model of Machu Picchu made from Lego blocks. Cheese much.

It was meant to highlight the historical attraction and get more visitors to come. Glad to say I made it there myself way back in 2005 – one of those ‘trips of a lifetime’ – and it certainly wasn’t easy to get to.
After flying in from Washington DC and staying a night in the capital, Lima, we flew to Cusco and spent a few unforgettable nights at the Hotel Monasterio, one of the Orient Express properties. The building is a former monastery, hence the name, and was our base for a few days around the pretty town.

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From there we took the incomparable Orient Express train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Peru’s most famous tourist magnet. With every detail anticipated, they even gave us a mini-cultural show as we waited to board, and once we departed it was pampering from start to finish. The train had 2 dining cars, a bar car, and an observation car at the rear, and as the train leaves later in the day than other trains, we were meant to arrive in Machu Picchu while most other tourists were gone – all the better to enjoy the setting. The train ride included a 3-course dinner, entertainment, and butler service(!) all the while passing through amazing scenery along the way. It all sadly ended after 3 hours.

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Once we reached Machu Picchu, we checked-into our hotel for the evening at The Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel allowed to be built beside the citadel and a mere 50 meters from the heritage site. Since we were spending the night nearby, we didn’t have to take the last bus out to Aguas Calientes, which most visitors to the citadel do, and instead had the chance to experience the amazing Machu Picchu all to ourselves. This opportunity to savor one of the world’s most amazing sites in near solitude was luxury pure and simple.

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One useful tip: Never wear shorts – because of this I was a feast for stealthy insects the entire time I was there.
The following morning, we woke up before sunrise to get a good location for our requisite Machu Picchu picture, and after several tries finally got my own private postcard.

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We stayed for lunch at the hotel, took the Orient Express train back to Cusco, and hung around for a couple more days before it was back to the U.S. As once in a lifetime trips go, this was unfailingly incredible, and a small fortune well-spent.

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