Herbe and Zed at Salinas (Sandra Woerner)
After breakfast, we walked to the train station and boarded for the two hour journey to Aguas Calientes. The Urubamba River ran alongside the railroad tracks and the mountains were on either side of us. It was beautiful scenery the entire trip. We checked into our hotel, El Mapi, which was very nice and then walked across the street to have lunch. I ordered a chicken sandwich and everyone had an animal figure carved from a potato on their plate. A group sang and played traditional Andean music. We walked across town with the other family and Santiago to their hotel, the Inkaterra, which was built on a former tea and coffee plantation covering 44 acres. After they checked in, a lady took us on a nature walk where we saw scores of hummingbirds (different varieties) and orchids. Some of the hummingbirds were smaller than my pinkie finger. We watched as they came to the feeder with their delicate wings moving faster than I could see in their plumage of greens and blues and reds and yellows. The way they can hover in the air defies description. Also, I was surprised to see orchids smaller than my fingernail. We also learned how tea was grown, picked and processed. Zed and I headed back to our hotel after the nature walk and bought a few souvenirs along the way. I bought my first Andean cross. We saw a group of male musicians dressed in costume practicing music. We later found out that this town, as well as others in Peru, were celebrating a patron saint. There was a parade on our street and much eating and drinking and merrymaking long into the night. In fact, those people love firecrackers. We decided to wait and go to Machu Picchu early the next morning as it was already about two in the afternoon before we finished lunch and we did not want to be rushed or get into huge crowds.
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