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Irene's Adventures

Peru - Machu Picchu

PERU | Thursday, 23 May 2013 | Views [476]

MACHU PICCHU

 We checked into our little hotel, then David and I decided to go to the hot springs.  What a welcome relief after freezing nights, sweating days, and sore aching feet.  Interestingly, one could order beer and cocktails while in one of the 5 hot pools.

On the way back from the hot springs, I found an artisan jeweler.  I stopped in his shop and ended up buying most of my souvenirs there.  He was so pleasant and his products were lovely.  You could watch him make them right in front of you.

Back at the hotel, we were told that in order to beat the massive crowds at Machu Picchu site, we were advised to get up early and wait in line for the first buses - at 5:30am.  We were there at the allotted time only to find that there were about 400 people already waiting.  We caught the 10th bus.  It is only a half hour by bus, and the road is very windy.

road to Machu Picchu

 

We got to the entrance gate and were surprised at how efficiently they could process that many people so quickly.  But then again, we were told to have our $55 US ticket and passport in hand.

It was so foggy when we walked up to the site, you couldn't see more than a few meters in front.  So our guide decided this was a good time to give us the tour of buildings and courtyards.  There is still the remains of a mortar (no pestal), astronomy viewing pools, a rock that is carved to mirror the shape of the mountains behind it, and a huge sculpture of a condor, among other things. We noticed that many of the stones had numbers and a grid marked onto walls.  This is in case of an earthquake, they can piece it back together like a massive 3D puzzle.

It was rather magical to be in such an ancient city, high in the mountains, covered in clouds.  As the fog lifted we were transferred into a surreal time and place.

 

Machu Picchu  Machu Picchu 

 

As soon as the sun came out we all headed to the vantage point for our photo opportunity.

Machu Picchu  Machu Picchu 

 

Although we did not go, there were many people who purchased an extra pass to climb Wayna Picchu.  Apparently it is a very steep and dangerous climb.  At least 5 people a year fall to their death.

 

Wayna Picchu   Wayna Picchu

 

A few of us made our way up to the Sun Gate, another 45 minute vertical hike.  It is sometimes easy to miss the other, natural beauty that lay on the fringes of the tourist sites.

 

other beauty     Machu Picchu from Sun Gate trail

 

Although Machu Picchu is highly publicized, photographed and pushed as a hot tourist spot, it really is a Must See!  Even if you do not do the trek, it is worth it to take the train and the bus.  No amount of photos can capture the beauty and wonder of this city in the clouds.  There is a sense of awe being there.  One of the greatest empires outside the known world was here; and it now lays abandoned like a ghost town.  Imagine the capital city of your country, your financial district and your monuments suddenly...... empty........  eery, isn't it?

We were all tired from trekking and as this was the ultimate climax of our trip, we were happy to meet back in Aguas Calientes and celebrate our accomplishment and wind down.  We were told to meet at a certain restaurant by no later than 3:00 pm because the train left at 3:30 pm.  I think we were all there by 11:00 am. 

We were all in such a festive mood!  We drank the bar completely out of beer, the innkeeper had to go next door to get more for us.  Notice the three different sizes of beer - the small one being 330 ml (a normal size in Canada).  I think the large one had 1 litre.

 

the boys having shots    different size bottles 

 

When we got back to Ollantaytambo, we jumped into a small bus that took us back to Cuzco, where our large packs and hot showers awaited us.

 

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