Machu Picchu... The Daddy
Trip Start May 30, 2005
130Trip End Sep 30, 2006
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The optician had found a Swedish girl the night before so we all headed off together, the rain wasnŽt actually that bad, it was just the noise against the tin roof that made it sound worse. The first 2 Km were easy, just straight down the road, across the bridge and then start climbing, 400 meters of ascent.
It didnŽt take long before we split up, The Optician raced off ahead and the Swedish girl was left behind
I met The Optician at the top again, heŽd already been there for 20 minutes, pah. I said goodbye to him as he headed off on his guided tour, I waited a little longer under the shelter from the rain before pulling out my Umbrella and entering the site.
My first impression was that it was tiny, much smaller than I was expecting. I climbed the hill to see the famous shot, it started playing hide and seek as clouds would come in and cover it up every now and then. It really did look fantastic and I was so happy to be there. I sat there for a while, listening to some of a tour guideŽs talk. I was quite glad that I didnŽt hire one in the end.
From here I headed down some random track overlooking the back way that IŽd walked along the previous day. It was great round here, no ruins, but no tourists either and great views over the hills
I came back out from here and then up some other random track, I really had no idea where I was going. The track just kept of going uphill with no sign of stopping, once I decided I was high enough I stopped and sat watching Machu Picchu from a pretty decent vantage point. Surprisingly enough there wasnŽt anyone else up here either! I found out later that this was the track to Machu Picchu Mountain, a 5 hour round trip. IŽd gone quite far enough.
Back down to the main site, I took the trail that leads to the Sun Gate, unfortunately the last section is currently closed due to a recent landslip there, at least there were some other nice rocks to look at on the way. And of course the scenery was stunning as well.
I think that Machu Picchu is a great site, but what makes it so special is the location of the ruins and the views of the surrounding area, without these I think itŽd be relegated to something a little more mundane.
I headed back to the main site again, and who should I find? yep, The Optician and The Swedish girl. I hung aroud with them for a little while before deciding it was Guinness time! It was only 10:30 in the morning, but IŽd been up for ages and it felt like the afternoon, plus the sun was now out and I was feeling nice and warm.
IŽd bought a can of Guinness in Cusco, at quite a price I can tell you, so that I could get a photo for a friend of mineThe Landmark Guinness group on flickr.com whereby each photo has a person enjoying a glass of Guinness with a famous landmark in the background. I figured that it didnŽt get much better than Machu Picchu, so I carried that thing in my backpack for 2 days while hiking to get it here. I actually almost forgot to pack it when I was leaving Santa Maria, I just packed it at the last moment!
So I pulled out the glass that IŽd bought the night before, since the hostel only had plastic glasses, huh! and poured the Guinness. I got The Optician to take a few shots of me with the glass, and it was job done. The only thing left to do next was to drink the stuff. Mmmm, it was great.
After another little rest The Optician persuaded me to head up Waynapicchu with him. This is the hill that you see in the background of all the famous shots. It was a tough steep climb, narrow at points, especially when you had to pass people coming down. But you can guess what I thought, it was brilliant, great view, blah blah blah. Sorry for repeating myself, but it really was superb. The Optician had a train to catch so left a little earlier than me, I just stayed up there enjoying the view.
The only thing left for me to do now was to look around the ruins themselves. By this time I was feeling pretty shattered as I half heartedly looked around them. They were nice, and very similar to ruins that IŽd seen in the past.
By 3pm I was done in. IŽd been up for 10 hours by this point and I just couldnŽt find the energy to do anything else
Once back I got a bit of food, spent an hour in the internet and found myself in bed with a book by 6pm, whatŽs going on! Not only that but I must have fallen asleep by 7pm. I was rudely awoken though a couple of hours later when I heard an argument taking place in the reception area. I heard little snippets of words like "But the agent said", "what about the entrance tickets?", "How much extra?". It would appear that Cusco is a town of promises and Aguas Calientes is the town of broken promises, it gave me a nice warm glow inside to think that IŽd done it completely independantly and hadnŽt been ripped off in anyway.
Now if only sheŽd shut up and let me get back to sleep, IŽd be happy. I had to get up early again the next day, to walk back to Santa Teresa, but with a deadline to meet in order to catch a bus to Santa Maria that day. Will I make it in time? Tune in next time folks.