Greetings fellow A.Netters. This is another trip report of a memorable trip I just came back from. I wanted to share my experience with everyone. Hope you all enjoy it!!!
I N T R O D U C T I O N
This was a trip that came up completely out of the blue. My travel plans for the year had pretty much ceased and to think I was going to go to see Machu Picchu was completely unheard of. Going through FT
, I found an awesome airfare of $378 RT to LIM
. After a couple of phone calls and enquiries, I was booked on Delta Airlines taking me from CLE
. My cousin was a bit late in booking this low fare and thus ended up booking from Chicago instead. Once the tickets were booked, it was time to plan the trip’s logistics. In all, we were a group of 9 people who were gonna go visit Machu Picchu. The itinerary created was simple; however somewhat chaotic. It covered every means of transportation except for by water. After careful planning we ended up with this:
• Air: CLE
on TACA); CUZ
• Land: CUZ
to Ollantaytambo and back
Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes & Back
This report will cover all the above and overall experience in the beautiful country of Peru. I would like to mention that Peruvians were probably one of the friendliest & helpful people I have encountered. There were instances when they went out of their ways to help us. It was just spectacular. Now to the report
GETTING TO LIMA, PERU
On September 3rd, it was time to wake up and get ready. Unfortunately, our plan of getting extra sleep was shattered when my phone’s alarm went off. I was dumb enough to forget to turn my phone’s weekday alarm off; therefore instead of waking up at 9 am, we were up by 6:45 am. With nothing to do, we decided to just sit around and finish up our packing. I made breakfast of eggs and tater tots and soon, we were ready to depart for CLE
. Getting to CLE
is approx. one hour drive from where I live; therefore we had to leave by 10:45 am, to ensure that we were at the airport by noon.
For anyone traveling to Cleveland, I would definitely recommend parking at Airport Fast Park. It’s really convenient as it picks you up from the spot you park, and drops you off at the terminal. Did I mention its covered parking? All for $6.50 a day. That’s quite remarkable.
So after parking, we hopped on the shuttle and made our way to the Delta check-in. We couldn’t use the automated check-in machine as it was giving us an error; however after a couple minute wait, we were with an agent and 15 minutes later, we had our boarding passes in hand all the way to LIM
. Now was the time to kill about an hour until it was time to board the flight to ATL
. We grabbed some lunch at the Mexican place airside and by the time we were done, it was time to board. One thing I did notice was a fighter jet taking off slowly and then suddenly it gained speed and went sideways. The noise from the engines was truly amazing.
FLIGHT 1: CLE-ATL (DL 4989 OPERATED BY ATLANTIC SOUTHEAST AIRLINES)
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So we walked through the jet bridge and took our seats. I was seated next to a gentleman who probably wished he wasn’t sitting next to me! My friends and I were in the same row, and we sat out to have fun during this flight. As it goes, the flight itself was uneventful. Since the flight was so short, the only thing offered was a glass of your choice of a beverage and the choice between biscoff cookies, peanuts or pretzels. I got the biscoffs and my friends both ordered the peanuts; however the FA
gave biscoff cookies to both. Since they weren’t really munching on the cookies, the FA
asked if everything was allright and that’s when she realized that they had ordered peanuts. She was a bit embarrassed and apologetic and ended up giving 2 packets of peanuts each
Meanwhile, the cart was sitting right next to me; therefore I got a picture taken showing that I was stealing a can of pop while she wasn’t looking at me. She came to me after the picture and asked, ‘now do you want a picture with me escorting you out of the plane?’ A very nice, sporting lady. Before we got off, she came to us and said, “You guys have been very good”. The flight itself was very smooth, with very little bumps on the way to ATL
. We landed and then taxied for what seemed an eternity to our gate. We were in the E concourse and had to make way to the C Concourse for our next flight, a 6.5 hr ride over to LIM
on DLs B764. We took the train over the concourse C and met up with the rest of our group, who had flown from Chicago. We met at the food court and by the time we said our hellos etc. to each other, it was already time to board the flight to LIM
. We all walked to our gate and just as we got there, boarding had just started.
FLIGHT 2: ATL – LIM (DL 151)
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We boarded our flight and made way to our seats. I was seated in row 40. I had the aisle seat with my friends in the same row. This was my first flight on an International DL
764 and this plane was equipped with a personal screen IFE with AVOD. I for one was more interested in talking therefore I barely used the IFE. I had it stuck to the moving map channel to see exactly where we were all the time. Boarding was quite rapid and soon, we were ready for departure. We pushed back and DLs safety demonstration video was played on the screens. The flight attendants were a mix bunch of English / Spanish speakers. For some reason, the Spanish speaking FAs always came to us and started speaking in Spanish. Do Indians really look like Peruvians? The taxi wasn’t that long and I believe we were number 5 in line for take-off. We got the runway and then there was a quick stop before the engines spooled up and the 764 was firing down the runway. It did not feel as powerful as a 777 or a 757 (which seems like a rocket), but it was still nice to see the power of those engines.
The interior of the DL
Getting to 10,000 feet, the seat belt signs came off and it was announced that there would be a drink service followed by dinner. Maybe I misunderstood because I never got a drink before the dinner service. It was more like getting a drink along with the food. One of my friends ordered a Corona and he suggested that he did not have to pay $7 for that beer. I was surprised, but not in the mood to drink, I passed on the beer and was happy for my friend nonetheless. Now this is where my experience with Delta is a bit sour. One of my friends had ordered a special hindu vegetarian meal and she got some sort of cauliflower + onions curry with rice. I tasted it and it was just bland. The dessert was plain fruit and the portions just seemed small. I had a choice between vegetarian pasta and chicken. I went with the chicken and boy; this was one of the worst tasting meals I have had. It was served with carrots, spinach & some sort of potato casserole. There was a salad with dressing on the side, some crackers with cheddar cheese and for dessert, and an individually wrapped brownie. Two of my other friends selected chicken as well and they shared my sentiments. We didn’t even finish our food as it was that bad. The brownie probably was the best tasting bit.
The chicken dish served... Photo courtesy of Luftfahrer from the DL Transatlantic Trip Report
One thing that Delta did do right was frequent water runs. The temperature of the flight was just right and since I was sitting on the side where the sun was shining, I not only had opportunities for good pictures but also the warmth coming in with the shades down. I spent most of the flight talking to my friend who was sitting next to me and didn’t even realize how fast the flight went. My friend took a 30 minute nap and at that time, I played the trivia game on DLs system. The landing paperwork was distributed and I filled those out prior to landing. There was also a snack that came a couple hours prior to landing. Again there was the vegetarian option which was just some veggies and a sauce in a bun, or the non-veg option which was an egg-salad sandwich. I personally thought the egg sandwich was decent tasting; although my friends thought otherwise. This was followed by a drink service. The rest of the flight was uneventful and soon it was time to descend into Lima.
Flying over Tampa
With a little sun
Friends playing some cards to kill time
Sun is almost down
We had an on time arrival in LIM
and made it to a long circling line of immigration. Although it looked super long, I guess we were in line for about 20 odd minutes before our turn came. Our piece of paper was stamped and we were welcomed into Peru. Just before exiting, I ended up getting some chocolate from the duty free shop for our trip. We made it to the baggage claim area and then had to wait for my sister who was arriving from LA
on a later flight. Four from our group went into the departure hall of LIM
to find a spot to sit, whereas we 4 waited for my sister. I took this opportunity to snap some pictures.
The Baggage Claim Area
My sister arrived and we all met up with the rest of the group at 4d cafeteria. I saw plenty of young backpackers sleeping in their sleeping bags on the floor, whereas we decided to camp out the night by having some beers, coffee and having some much required food. My friend and I went for a stroll around the airport to explore the shops and explore LIM
Taken from the cafe
Taken from the cafe
A shop in LIM
The International Arrivals Hall
While walking around
We managed to kill the time, with a couple of us deciding to take naps before checking in for our next flight, which was to depart at 5:40 am to Cusco. Check-in counters were to open 2 hrs prior to departure time; therefore we were waiting for the clock to hit 3:40 am. Little did we know that others were thinking the same and by the time we got downstairs, there was already a big line for check-in. Approx. 20 odd minutes later, we were checked in and with boarding passes in hand, ready to fly to Cusco. We all cleared security, paid the domestic departure tax and then by the time we got done with security, we were almost ready for boarding. Boarding was done via buses. We all boarded a bus which took us to our aircraft.
FLIGHT 3: LIM – CUZ (TA 007)
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We boarded the aircraft and then took our seats. I did not have the window seat on this flight; however I still tried to get some pictures between catching some slumber and occasionally waking up. The flight was really short; however quite scenic. There was a small snack service which included a cold muffin along with a drink of your choice. Not bad for a short flight. Overall, TACA was good. On time departure, a comfortable plane, and an on time arrival. We got our bags soon and the next thing for us was to get a van to get us to Ollantaytambo so that we could head on to Aguas Calientes.
LAN flight heading to CUZ
Mood Lighting in the TACA flight
Sun just about rise
Mountains beneath us
Interior of TACA plane
Beginning our descent into CUZ
Some of the visible scenery
Mountain right next to the airport
R O A D T R I P
We got a van and soon head for Ollantaytambo. I tell you, this was a very scenic drive which marvelous mountains gracing our eyes. One thing I did notice around Cusco was that there were a lot of stray dogs. Is that something very common? I’ve never seen so many stray dogs in my life before. While driving, we were in awe to look at snow peaked mountains in front of us. It was just a beautiful site. I’ll let some pictures talk for me here.
Soon, we were approaching the Sacred Valley area, and suddenly you could see a town in the middle of two huge mountains. This was a spectacular scene as suddenly we were on a downhill going through winding roads. I’m guessing Jeremy Clarkson, James May & Richard Hammond should make a trip to this area of Peru so that they could enjoy the twisty curvy roads.
After about an hour and half of driving through wonderful scenery, we arrived at the train station of Ollantaytambo. Our train wouldn’t leave until 12:30; therefore we had about 3 odd hours to kill. Being hungry and sleep deprived, we headed to a local shop to grab breakfast and also enjoyed some Coca Tea. I read a lot of blogs and websites that suggesting drinking this tea to avoid getting altitude sickness. Frankly I never experienced any of that; however I could tell that the air was definitely thinner in Cusco. We decided to take a stroll towards the town square and then spotted some local markets. Ollantaytambo is a beautiful town and I would have enjoyed staying there longer than just 3 hours.
Our ride to Ollantaytambo
First sights of Cusco
Some of the scenery along the way
Locals at Ollantaytambo
The cute local kids
Stuff from the local market
For some reason, the HTML code for all my pics was listed so many times. I wanted to do this report in one go. So I will have to split it up...
[Edited 2010-09-15 06:23:46]