Machu Picchu Day 1
Trip Start May 24, 2008
15Trip End Jun 08, 2008
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As the trains are short on space, all we could take were our backpacks - our luggage had to be left at the Samay hotel in Cusco for a couple of days until we got back. What was nice about the trip, despite the tiredness was the breakfast we got on the train and the amazing views of the the valley, and the Inca trail that we could see on the way
Machu Picchu is both a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a UNESCO World Cultural site with it's very distinctive ruins, and the nearby Huayna Picchu which features in almost every photograph people take at Machu Picchu. The best observation point for the ruins is where we headed first - to the guard house. It was from around this point that most of the "famous" views of Machu Picchu have been taken due to how amazing it looks to have the ruins offset by Huayna Picchu behind them; photos really don't do the place justice. From there we gradually worked our way around the ruins taking a phenomenal number of photographs.
By 13:00 our guide had left us to explore by ourselves; it was a good thing really as she commented on the rocks (their size and shape) almost continuously
Once we'd done at Machu Picchu we went back down the mountain to Aguas Calientes to look around the market we'd passed earlier that day. It was quite a large market and took us about few hours to look around buying souvenirs to take back home. Other than a statues of Timu I'd bought for $30 in Nasca I hadn't really bought much up until then, so I bought a Machu Picchu t-shirt, a couple of ornaments of Machu Picchu, an Incan Cross fridge magnet, and a couple of animals carved from the local stone.
As we hadn't bothered with lunch and it was starting to get quite late we decided to see what restaurants there were. Most of them were pizzerias, but we went with a small restaurant called Julio's where I tried a peppered Alpaca steak and a strawberry pancake - both were absolute delicious. If you've not tried Alpaca before then it tastes like beef, only sweeter.