Day 7 of my trip started with an early morning; I was up at four and was out the door by six!
The group caught a bus ride up to the entrance of Machu Picchu, and I managed to sit up front so I could get a good view. This was great because I could see everything, but it was also terrifying because I could see everything: the whole route was one lane switchbacks up the steep side of a mountain.
fire right), as well as the temple of the Condor.
Hiking Huayna Picchu and the Sungate Trail were also highlights from the day, and I'll add more on my experience there soon.
After catching a bus ride back down from this Wonder of the World we got hamburgers from a diner in Aguas Calientes before heading to the train station. Fake American food was actually much needed after a week away from home.
Now for the part where my Spanish comes into play: I had used it a little throughout the day to get around, but I really got to use it on the train ride home. I was seated at a booth with three strangers. I spent the first fifteen minutes or so getting acquainted with the travelers across from me, a woman from Belgium and her boyfriend from France. I introduced myself in Spanish, but when she responded in English I was ecstatic. Her boyfriend didn't speak much English, so she translated for me. They told me about Europe and their travels. Such kind people!
I then turned to the passenger beside me that I had been neglecting due to the sheer amazingness of my new European acquaintances, and lo and behold he was a tour guide from Cusco!
My next hour and a half was excitedly spent practicing my Spanish and talking with him. We traded slang and stories of home. I asked questions too, and I probably asked too many of them. One of my favorite parts of our conversation was when he asked about synonyms for "hermosa" or "linda" when describing the mountains there, and he especially seemed to take to the word "breathtaking" to describe the view. So beautiful that it leaves you short of breath, pulls the air from your lungs.
If I am going to talk about my weak ability to communicate in Spanish, I have to mention that I fail at it a lot. This time it was calling my last year of high school "mi lástima año" (my shame year) instead of "mi ultimo año" (my last year). 'Twas a solid 10/10 whoops. My tour guide friend caught it and laughingly corrected me.
While simple, this experience of talking on the train was one of the first times I realized that I was capable of communicating in another language, and I am now excited to go use it more.
Alix from Utah