Day 61 (p.m.): The Best Beer In The World

Sat. 13th October 2012

It seems appropriate to split today’s blog post into two. Machu Picchu deserves a post all to itself and as it turned out, today was a 23 hour day.

We really did deserve it!After we finished at Machu Picchu we got the bus down the hill to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes and we found the rest of our group ensconced on a table at a restaurant just about to start on lunch. Prior to now the large beers were around 600ml but here they came in 1.1l bottles. It was a pretty unanimous decision that we really did deserve these beers and after the efforts of our walk and the spectacle we had just seen. It certainly tasted extra special!

Anyone for Guinea Pig?We had eaten so well over the last few days that soup was sufficient for me. However, for some of the others the opportunity to get a pizza was too much to resist and Andy had to try the local delicacy of Cuy or Guinea Pig. Tastes OK, but too much effort for too little meat was the verdict.

Waiting for the trainThe restaurant was situated right by the railway track and over lunch we were able to watch them shunting carriages around assembling the train that would take us to back to Ollantaytambo on our way back to Cusco. On First Great Western, you are lucky (or is that unlucky) if you get a trolley for coffee and snacks. On this train, we had a full floor show of music, chap in lion costume dancing round (and giving some of our party who’d drifted off to sleep and almighty scare). This was followed by a fashion show, with the train staff modelling local knitware with the opportunity to buy some of the items. It was certainly different.

Floor show on the trainFirst priority on getting to the hotel was to jump into the shower and to change into some clean clothes. Actually, in our case it was our only remaining clean clothes! We’ll have to get laundry sorted tomorrow.

Feeling much more human, we assembled downstairs and it turned out that it was Shiry’s birthday. This, combined with a general desire to celebrate our achievement in walking the Inca Trail and some mutterings about Salsa lessons, we should have known it was going to be a late night. A  bottle of tequila was produced so that we could properly toast her birthday before heading off to a local restaurant (The Norton Pub, would you believe – it even sold cans of Abbot Ale and Old Speckled Hen).

It was actually what we all needed, a few drinks then off to the Salsa club cum nightclub. We all had a great time – we felt able to let our hair down and just enjoy the sense of shared achievement. Suffice to say that we all joined in and at one point I seemed to find myself dancing on the bar. Clearly, this is just a normal activity for me! (There are some photos and when I get copies, I will post one here). By 2am we were all flagging and headed back to the hotel (in more or less a straight line) tired but very content.

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