It’s Thursday. It’s WI night, or for my hero, it’s choir rehearsal. But tonight, we’re in an altogether different place and oh my goodness, did we have fun!
Sadly, it was time to leave Machu Picchu and begin the journey home. We were catching the train this evening from Aguas Calientes at 5.45pm.
Not just any old train though. Oh no. We had tickets for the Hiram Bingham and, by all accounts we were in for a treat.
We were in the waiting room (ahem) drinking a glass of champagne (not quite First Great Western, is it?) when the train pulled into the station. Of course, I had to hop out and take some photographs.
Hmm. Someone was hard at work preparing our dinner!
The train consisted of three carriages: the kitchen car, the dining car and the bar. We looked around and counted just twelve passengers!
As we sat drinking our champagne, we were asked for our tickets and one by one were escorted to our seats on the train. Bags were carried for us. (Did I say we were feeling utterly spoiled at this point?)
The dining car was set with elegant linen and there was a rose at each table.
Our table was simply lovely, and sitting there with so few fellow passengers, really we could have been quite alone. No-one else was in sight.
The menu was interesting!
And as the train pulled slowly out of the station, the pisco sours were brought around.
Let the party begin!
An announcement informed us that dinner would be served at 6.30pm an in the meantime, we were welcome to visit the bar where there was some musical entertainment.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Picture the scene. An assortment of nationalities sitting quietly at first, listening to this trio of lively musicians. Having got everyone’s attention with a couple of numbers which seemed familiar but we probably couldn’t have named, they passed round the tambourines, the maracas, the rattling shells… “join in!” they said. So we did.
Two glasses of wine (and the pisco sour) later, the party really had begun. What fun! I couldn’t possibly describe the next half hour but, suffice to say, we laughed, sang, danced and had so much fun. At one point, my hero turned to me and said “this is so weird…here we are, singing “guantanamera” on a train in darkest Peru!”
I quickly switched my camera to video mode and may be persuaded to bring it out and show the maracas performance at some point
Then it got serious again – dinner was served!
Leek and potato soup. Yummy, if a little salty for my taste – but then most of the food here in Peru is too salty for me.
Then, a short lesson on Peruvian products: from left to right, fava beans, kiwicha, potatoes and finally, quinoa.
Roast fillet of beef next, accompanied by a variety of potatoes served in a corn husk styled to resemble one of the straw boats on Lake Titicaca.
Chocolate strawberries with pineapple for dessert.
All the time, our wineglasses were being refilled by attentive staff. This was such a special experience!
When we arrived just outside Urubamba at 8.30pm, Marco was waiting for us, with our “guardian angel” Pamela. It took us just over an hour to drive to Cusco where we have settled into the most comfortable room in what appears to be another amazing hotel.
The route to get to our room was so tricky that we fear we might never find our way out. Perhaps we’ll have to stay here a fortnight until someone comes to rescue us