This report is for the return trip back to Cusco/Poroy. The outbound Hiram Bingham trip report is here: Hiram Bingham Cusco To Machu Picchu
The bus which picked us up from the front of Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, dropped us off back in the town of Aguas Calientes, where we said our final goodbye to Hector and thanked him for the great job he did showing us around Machu Picchu. While according to Angela, we still had some time to browse around town and the market in front of the station, my parents and I headed for the dedicated Hiram Bingham waiting room. Security was guarding the pathway to the waiting room for Hiram Bingham passengers and he asked to see our tickets. While my dad was rummaging through his backpack to find our return tickets for the Hiram Bingham Train, one of the Hiram Bingham train crew member saw us with the security guard and he walked over and told the security guard that we were passengers on the Hiram Bingham and to let us through.
Inside the waiting room, the band that came with us on the outbound Hiram Bingham from Poroy earlier in the day was playing for passengers until it was time to board the Hiram Bingham again for the return back to Cusco. Inside the waiting room, there is a refrigerator with self serve sodas, but champagne is also served by the train crew as passengers arrive for the return journey back. When it is time to board, members of the Hiram Bingham Train crew will come and get you from the exclusive waiting room and escort you back to your table. Around 14 people boarded the Hiram Bingham for the return journey back to Cusco this evening.
The table aboard the Hiram Bingham was already setup for dinner with fresh new tablecloth, menu, wine glasses and silverware. Included on the table was a container with potatoes, two types of quinoa and giant corn. Later on before dinner, Angela made an announcement explaining that tonights dinner incorporates all four of the items in the container, which are all traditional Peruvian ingredients.
Shortly after we departed from Aguas Calientes, a crew member came by taking our dinner order. All three of us chose the duck leg confit for dinner. After the dinner order was taken, we were invited to enjoy music and drinks in the bar car. We headed to the bar car, where the band was setting up to play. For the return journey back to Cusco, the Hiram Bingham bar car’s open platform is closed because the engine is attached to the bar car for the return journey back to Cusco. There does not seem to be a wye in Aguas Calientes to turn the whole train around, just the engine. Since we would be traveling back to Cusco in the dark, not having the open platform did not matter.
The waiter working in the Hiram Bingham bar car came by for my drink order and I went with the pisco sour again. On the drink tables of the bar car, sweet potato and plantain chips are available for passengers to consume along with their beverages. During the performance, the waiter also walked around with canapes. One was a cheese canape and the other was a sushi roll.
After enjoying couple glasses of pisco sour, I joined by parents back at our table. My parents were starting to fall asleep and so was I. We have been up since early in the morning and combined with four hours of walking around Machu Picchu and the pisco sours was making the three of us sleepy. Other passengers were falling asleep at their seat as well.
Dinner time came and everyone who fell asleep awoke from their short nap. Passengers who were still in the bar car strolled back to their tables as drinks and wine were being served. Next came the bread basket along with butter and a green sauce. Just as it was done during lunch on the outbound Hiram Bingham Train, a crew member walked through the train car carrying a basket of bread offering to refill the bread basket for anyone who wanted it. The bread was followed by a canape, and after the canape plates were cleared, the appetizers were brought out. The appetizer, which consisted of pickled vegetables mixed with something (I forgot what it was) was tangy and refreshing.
A soup course followed the appetizer. The soup was called a leek and potato “emulsion” according to the menu. The soup was creamy and delicious. Once the soup bowls were cleared from the table, the duck confit which was our main course was brought out from the kitchen car and served. By this point, in the dinner service, we were already getting full. The duck and the sacred valley corn au gratin were all delicious but neither my parents nor I were able to finish it all.
A chocolate dessert followed the duck confit main course. By this point of the dinner service, I was completely stuffed and only tasted the dessert and didn’t finish the whole plate. It was good but I had no more room in my stomach for anymore food. And as if finishing with dessert was not enough, petite fours consisting of chocolates and passion fruit pastries were brought out to finish off the dinner service. Coffee and tea were available for anyone who wanted it.
As we got closer to our final destination, the band came into the dining car to play a final song for the Hiram Bingham passengers. The famous Peruvian music, El Condor Pasa was played for the bands final performance of the night. Shortly afterwards, we arrived back into Poroy Station where the car that we had arranged with the hotel concierge at our hotel Palacio Del Inka, was waiting for us.
This concluded the “crown jewel” trip of our trip to Peru. While there are much more to see in the coming days and we have seen many great things during our trip through Peru up until now, the Hiram Bingham Train and Machu Picchu was the the main event that we have been waiting for ever since we decided to visit Peru. Our conclusion when we arrived back at the hotel was that the money spent to travel to Machu Picchu via the Hiram Bingham Train was well worth the high cost that we paid. There are plenty of cheaper options to get to Machu Picchu but taking the Hiram Bingham Train to Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime activity which we can now cross off of our list things to do and places to see.