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Travels in South America

Machu Picchu

PERU | Tuesday, 30 September 2008 | Views [2163]

Ok.  So the plan was to walk the 8km from Aguas Callientes UP to MP in the dark in order to see the sunrise.  So that’s what we did.  We left the hostel at quarter to four in the morning and walked through the town and found the Inca trail up to MP.  It was bloody hard work.  Step after step after step.  And the real killer is that the steps are just that little bit too big, making it a real effort.  All was going well (I say well but I could barely breathe) until we heard a rustle in the bushes and some panting.  Remember it was very dark and we were on a tiny path surrounded by trees on the side of a mountain.  We were a little scared (pooing ourselves actually) and outcomes this Alsatian.  We didn’t quite know what to do and then the dog ran over, tail wagging, waiting for a pat on the head.  Phew!  We ploughed on and finally after 1 ½ hours we reached the site of the MP ruins (which is about half way up the mountain Machu Picchu).  We were utterly wrecked.  It’s weird because your legs feel fine but your body is desperate for oxygen.  We go the at 5:15 but it didn’t open until 6 so we waited and watched as more people came up the hill and the first set of buses arrived.  Btw me and Dave were the third and fourth people there.  I was quite impressed.  The gates opened and we rushed in to get the perfect spot (UPwards again) for sunrise, except we then realised that 1.  it was already daylight and  2. it was very cloudy and the sun coming over the mountains really wouldn’t look impressive.  We decided to go and queue for tickets for Wanu Picchu instead. 

 

Wanu Picchu is the mountain alongside Machu Picchu.  Only 400 people are allowed up every day in order to preserve the trail.  It doesn’t cost extra to go, you just have to queue to make sure that you get the ticket.  Our tickets secured for 10 a.m. we went back to the entrance to explore the ruins from the beginning.

 

So the ruins themselves are impressive in terms of the size of the stones and how high up they are.  You can also see that it was probably an impressive little town at some point but what was really spectacular were the views.  The scenery was amazing from up there.  We could see many mountains and they were shrouded in clouds with sunbeams breaking through.  It really was breathtaking.  You can see why the Incas used to worship the mountains. 

 

We walked to the top of the ruins (AGAIN), got the classic pictures and made our way along one side through the temples and the royal house etc.  Then it was 10 O’clock and we psyched ourselves up for the climb of Wanu Picchu.  It was tough, but not as tough as the climb that morning and when we got to the top (1 hour later) we were rewarded with fantastic views.  From there we could see the MP ruins laid out and the path that we had taken that morning.  It was probably the best part of the day.  We stayed up there a while congratulating ourselves on a job well-done.  Oh yeah.  On the way up we passed a man leading a woman back down.  The woman was blind.  There was everyone else struggling and tripping and falling on the steps and a blind woman had done it.  Nothing but admiration for her.  We came back down the mountain, went through the rest of  the ruins and started the Inca trail back down t Aguas Callientes.  At 4:30 p.m. we got back to the hotel.  We were so tired and filthy from the dust, not to mention itchy from the gnat bites.  All in all we had been on the go for nearly 13 hours, we had travelled upwards 600m and walked about 20 km.  It was worth it but I wouldn’t do it again in a hurry. 

 

Tip for anybody planning on going – they say you’re not allowed to take in food or bottled water but everyone does.  They don’t check you bags.  Just makes sure your bag is less than 20 litres or you won’t be allowed to take it in.  Take enough water because the place that sells it outside the site charges a massive S./10 (8 over the usual tourist price.)

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

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