Machu Picchu*** la maravilla

Trip Start Jun 19, 2008
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Trip End Jul 25, 2008


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Where I stayed
Hostal Viajero

Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Monday, July 7, 2008

The Peru entries are a bit back-dated as there was a nationwide strike for the last few days and most businesses were closed in the areas I was visiting.  It just ended yesterday and things are getting back to normal.  It is actually my last day in Peru but I wanted to include these entries seperately because Iīve done so much in the last week.

7/7/08
"I just came back from Aguas Calientes after having spent the entire day in Machu Picchu...it was spectacular.  Really, I donīt know how to describe the force of the place.  If I were blind, I would have known that I had arrived in a powerful and sacred area...and itīs not just Machu Picchu...itīs the whole entire area surrounding it. The views from the collectivo from Pisac to Ollantaytambo are astounding.  Iīve had quite a lucky 24 hrs.  There is a national strike starting tomorrow and transportation will inevitably come to a halt everywhere.  Due to the strike, Peru Rail , who fo better or worse has the monopoly on transportation to Machu Picchu, was not selling return tickets for the 7th through the 10th of the month.  I was able to buy my ticket TO Machu Picchu, but was told I had to just wait and see if I could get a return ticket from the halfway point.  Well I got to Ollantaytambo, the half way point, and they said no again...no ticket back to Cusco..hahaha. So I went to Aguas Calientes just hoping I would be able to get back, and upon arrival, I was able to buy one of the few return tickets left from that station for the next day...success!  (And it was on the cheap train too, thank God, which really isnīt even cheap..haha) 

Aguas Calientes is full of pricey restaurants, shops and hotels.  I had been feeling ill so I just rested in my room for a little while before going out for dinner.  I arrived on a rather auspicious date, it being the one year anniversay of Machu Picchu being declared one of the new 7 world wonders...so there were huge celebrations and festivities the night of the 6th and the day of the 7th in the actual park.  In the evening I walked up to the Hot Spring where I soaked and relaxed in the steamy natural spring baths. 

Well I was up at 430am to get ready for my day in Machu Picchu.  I boarded the bus at 530 and the drive up was spectucular...seriously, the land formations here are astoudingly intimidating...itīs like you can feel your insides trembling.  At the risk of being made fun of, what I saw in that dim light of dawn brought tears to my eyes.  To see this land (or any other insanely beautiful landscape) and still attempt to explain the existence of this world with explosive theories and equations, to me, is asinine and a sure indication that our "logic" has proven nothing but our own foolishness.

I got off the bus at Machu Picchu and the sky was still blue-gray with misty clouds shrouding the mountaintops.  The sun was creeping its way up but could not yet be seen.  The next lucky thing that happened to me was that one of the resident park guides that actually lives in the area just came up to me and started telling me everything about the ruins in detail...amazing. His name was Franklin and when he talked, after every sentence he would say ŋNo es cierto?..hahaha.  The other guides he works with all have their own zone that they work in, so I was getting sent from zone to zone getting a free, private tour of all the ruins.  Now the next thing that happened was the luckiest of all.  I mentioned to one of the guides, Edwin, that I wanted to climb Waynapicchu (the mountain that is in all the MP pictures), so we walked over there, and there was a line of about 150 people waiting to get on the trail to climb up.  There was no way I would have enough time to wait in line, get in and finish the hike and come off the mountain before I had to leave...plus only 400 people can go up in one day and there were already over 100 people that had started since the park opened so it was looking pretty bleak... Oh well...I was fine with it and decided to go explore the ruins some more.  Edwin disappeared for a few minutes and came back running, motioning for me to follow.  "Walk about ten steps behind me and donīt say anything", he said.  We walked right past the 150 people, his friend at the gate handed me the sign-in book and stamped my entry ticket, and I was in there!..#149!  Oh my gosh, what a lucky day in Machu Picchu.  So I climbed up to the peak, hiked alone down the trail to the Temple of the Moon (I kept thinking I was lost because no one else was on the trail), and back up and over to Machu Picchu.  Every muscle in my body aches right now...but it was fantastic and worth every minute.  The views from the peak are mind-blowing.  I sat up at the top and had lunch and meditated for a long while, just soaking the place in.  An unforgettable day and I met so many wonderful people : )
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