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Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

Machu Picchu - TICK THE BOX !!!

PERU | Friday, 31 July 2009 | Views [3647]

Costs: bus Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu US$7 / 21s. Entry to Machu Picchu US$40 / 124s. Buy these tickets as soon as you arrive in AC at or near the plaza.

This is the place that helped in our deciding where to travel, Kent has especially been looking forward to seeing Machu Picchu, and nearly a year after leaving NZ we are finally here!

Carol trekked about AC looking for a place to stay with a reasonable price. Wow there are some fancy looking hotels there. With a bit of sleuthing she found an uncompleted hostal which has two completed rooms of which we got one with 2 beds and baño for 20s ea, great! We met up with Sebastian and Valiuka and found a local restaurant for dinner. The cheaper sleeps and eats are on the right side of the river looking up from the tracks, past the markets. We had been told by a guide while in line for our tickets that we would need to be in line for the bus in the morning by 4.30am as people get there really early, the buses are due to leave at 5.30am. So we hit the sack early.

Up at 4am and to the busline by 4.15am and we are already on bus #4 when they arrive. Waiting sitting on the pavement in the dark we are served coffee and rolls by the ever present wonderful street sellers.

When we reach the entrance of MP after a 20 or so minute drive up neverending switchbacks we find we are now about number 500 and 501 in line as lots of people have hiked up from AC in the early hours.

Gates open and everyone is in with a rush and heading who knows where. Although we figure we haven't got a chance with the number of people ahead of us, we head to the entrance to Huaynapicchu. Only 400 people per day are allowed up Huaynapicchu, 200 at 7am and 200 at 10am, on our info sheet it is a steep easy climb to wonderful views of MP.

We wait over an hour in line and watch the sunrise over the huge hills surrounding MP, it is the most beautifully clear sunny day. Astoundingly a guy comes along and asks us if we prefer to go on the 7am entry or the 10am entry, we choose the 7am and stay in line.

If Carol had bothered to really look up at the hill she was about to climb she probably wouldn't have attempted it. However full of the excitement of being here and of the breathtaking views we both finally headed uphill at 8am. The climb was hard...long, steep and amazing! Actually Carol did really well and no-one passed us on the way and she never felt like giving up even once, shows how fit we have become.

At the top we climbed through a tunnel and up a ladder and popped out onto huge rocks adorning the summit. Lots of people there climbing carefully about and taking great pics looking down on MP.

Kent clung to the rocks and managed to move about ok until it came time to go down, down was steep tiny steps and most people descended like on a ladder, facing the steps. That part was tough going for him with vertigo giving him a hard time. Once we got back on the trail it was good going and we met Sebastian and Valiukas on their way up.

The rest of the day was spent exploring Machu Picchu pueblo, an amazing place with amazing views as you will see from the pics. The homes here have been so well built that only the wooden parts are missing (rooves and floors). There are hidden alleys and rooms carved into huge rocks, a water system and huge terraces for crops. Kent walked all the way up to the Temple of the Sun but Carol only got halfway and that was enough.  Even tho there must have been about a thousand people in the complex it didn't feel full, we enjoyed a lovely picnic in the sun on the huge open grassy area in the middle as did lots of others and no-one left any rubbish. We took some of the 'classic' shots of MP and you can see lots more in our MP gallery but the best parts will be in our memories.

We decide to walk back down the trail to Aguas Calientes and start the steep descent after 4.30pm and yes there on the trail, right when Kent was worrying about getting dehydrated, there was a guy selling bottles of water - thankyou Peru! It got dark just as we got to the river at the bottom and had a couple of km's walk in the dark along the road back to town. On the way we met some kids heading up to sleep the night and be first in line tomorrow. At AC we ate and crashed!


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