From Cuzco we got the bus to Ollantaytambo where we visited an impressive Inca site on the side of a cliff before getting on the backbacker train (cheaper than posh train but still $20 one way) to Aguas Calientes at the foot of the Machu Picchu Mountain. On arrival were swamped by guesthouse owners and eventually decided on a cheap one up the hill ($3 each). We then went out for a 3 course meal - the owner of the restaurant gave us such a cheap deal that we couln't refuse(we only went out for a sandwich as none of us were hungrey at all!!)
We got up at 8 and got rushed out of our guesthouse as the owner wanted to go out - bit rude we thought!! We started the one and a half hour treck up to the Machu Picchu Inca site at the top of the mountain. It was extremely hot and the path was very steep so lots of rest breaks were needed for unfit Team England. It was a beautiful climb up through mountain forset and we only saw a couple of other people walking up - everyone else seemed to be doing the lazy option & getting the bus up.
We knew we were nearing the top when we heard the sound of noisy Americans whining in the distance. When we reached the entrance gates the place was swamped with fat Americans and snap happy Japenese carrying around huge tripods for their tiny cameras. Once we paid the heafty US$25 to get in we eventually got to see the amazing Inca site. The ruins were spectacular and covered a huge area. As we couldn't afford a guide for $30 we had in advance bought a book covering a walking tour of the site (ingenious we thought!!). We looked around the main site for 3 hours but didn't make it out to any of the smaller sites on the perimeter as we didn't have enough time. Unfortunately we ran out of water and we were unwilling to fork out the horrendous price for a drink at the cafe. It was very hot & we were all sunburnt as we were expecting it to be cold & cloudy up there!! We had to rush down the mountain before we collapsed of dehydration to get a slightly cheaper drink at the bottom.
We got the very swanky tourist train back to Ollantaytambo for $35 and then a bus back to Cuzco (the cheaper option), before travelling non-stop to La Paz in Bolivia.
Machu Picchu more than matched our expectations and made a fanastic end to our time in Peru... Maybe next time we'll book the required six months in advance to do the Inca Trail and pay the whopping $300 for the pleasure.