Right – so after all those days of endless walking and sleeping tents in the middle of no-where I had finally reached my destination. We got up at 4am ish to start queuing for the bus up. By some miracle my legs had recovered after not really being able to walk the previous day. It was surprising to see but ALL the shops were open at this time selling snacks etc for Machu Piccu. So we got onto a bus and FINALLY made our way to Machu Picchu. We were one of the first in the park and at this time were was some kind of a thick fog covering the place which made it all look very mystical:
So over here the guide started by giving us a tour of the complex. So Machu Picchu means old mountain and Wayna Picchu means young mountain. Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas” (a title more accurately applied to Vilcabamba), it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911 when he was looking for Vilcabamba.
When the Spanish arrived the last remaining Inca left Machu Picchu for VilcaBamba as the Spanish destroyed a lot of Machu Picchu in search of gold.
During the Solstice (the sun is the greatest distance from earth) the incas saw this as the sun was upset with the earth. Therefore they would offer a black Llama at Machu Picchu to try and bring back the sun. Black was seen as a pure colour.
In the Peruvian andes there are just two seasons – the wet season and dry season.
The Inca civilisation was huge. It ran from Pasto Colombia to Mauli in Chile and Cusco was the capital of the empire.
Apparently the world record for locals from Cusco to Maccu Picchu is 3 hours 45 mins.
Lots of Chinchilla (animals in Machu Picchu) for the pictures.
The houses had one central area for everything. Kitchen, bedroom etc. The houses were two floors where people would live on the first floor and store food etc on the second floor.
So the Incas never lived in Machu Picchu – it was mainly the workers who lived there and the Incas would come from Cusco on the inca trail for special occasions.
Machu Picchu was built there as it’s the only mountain in the whole of sacred valley where the river goes around the mountain. In all the smaller mountains the river goes through.
This area was interesting as it was their astronomy observation area. They had a bowl that they would fill with water which would reflect the sky:
The condor represented the heavens. puma the earth and snake represents the underworld.
So the tour wasn’t great & after the guided visit, it was pretty much the end of the tour and we all took one last group photo:
So from here I had bought a ticket to climb the mountain Machu Picchu. Now there are two mountains you can climb, Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu. The most famous one is Wayna Picchu but that was sold out when I went to book the package so I had to settle for Machu Picchu. Now I thought it was an easy 1 hour or so accent, but man I was wrong. IT WAS TOUGH – and all this directly after that ridiculously difficult Saltantay Trek. It was VERY steep and in some parts quite dangerous (welcome to S America) and tough and it was HOT which didn’t help. I somehow managed to get to the top however within 1.5 hours.
This was the view on the way up:
Here’s proof I reached:
This was the view:
I got to the top and saw a guy drinking mate (a herbal tea). I knew the guy HAD to be from either Argentina or Uruguay. All over South America you see people with thermal flasks and their mate cup to drink from and can spot them a mile away! Anyway I was very lucky when I arrived to the top there was no guard so I could stand on a somewhat dangerous ledge and take all the pics I wanted. After a while a guard came and it was impossible. After the epic climb to get up there I decided to was going to sit for a while so just sat and took in the view. It was beautiful.
Then I started the descent down:
On getting to the bottom I was SHATTERED and my legs were quite literally shaking. I thought this is where I need to find a nice patch of grass and take a siesta. So I managed to find a very quiet part of the ruins and sat there. However I had to also find a spot that avoided the local wildlife:
Anyway eventually I found a quiet spot. The key was to avoid the pockets of americans. As much as I hate stereotypes – Americans generally are VERY loud people. So I found a nice quiet spot on the grass and had my siesta. On waking up I decided I should try and go the Inca bridge. There were a few things to go and see – the sun gate and inca bridge. I could not even think of any more trekking which ruled out the easy climb to the sun gate but took the very easy trail to go and see the Inca Bridge. Before this however I took some pictures of Machu Picchu:
The first thing I see on this trail is:
I was thinking after that suicidal path to climb the mountain this can’t be anywhere near as bad. Thank god for once I was right. It was a very pleasant path to the bridge. So this was the original bridge back in the day:
Health and Safety would have a field day on that one and it was quite rightly closed off.
Anyway it was getting time to leave so I headed back to the main compound for some last minute pics and managed to get one postcard perfect picture with a llama:
On getting back from the death bridge I found another very quiet place to sit and just admire the view. Sat there for a while until I felt I had to go home. On exiting I took some more pics:
This is where I was sitting:
This was my entry ticket to Machu Picchu (note the completely incorrect nationality):
Overall Machu Picchu was one of my highlights of South America. It’s amazing to think how the Inca’s built something like this in the middle of no where such a long time ago. Also there are a number of routes to get there with each having it’s own merit. Even though I chose the hardest (and struggled A LOT) I have no regrets! The constant tiredness, altitude sickness, lack of breath, sore legs were all worth it when I reached the peak of Salkantay and when I reached Machu Picchu. The journey was just as important as the destination for me.
So the standard thing for people to do is to book one night in the hotel and then head back to Cusco. I, however, did not want any rush after finally reaching so decided to stay two nights and have a leisurely ride the next day in the train back to Cusco. It was a great decision as I was shattered and can’t imagine having to go back to Cusco or having walked all the way there and then having to rush down to catch the train.
Anyway the next day I made my way to the train station, however before took a few pics of the small town before Machu Picchu.
From that town (with the ridiculously long name) I took a transport back to Cusco and this ended my journey to Machu Picchu!