Machu Picchu

Trip Start Nov 11, 2007
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Trip End Nov 25, 2007


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Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Monday, November 19, 2007

It's no wonder why the Spanish couldn't find the Lost City of the Inkas: it takes at least 2 means of transport to get there, and they only had horses. There are people who do following: 1) take a plane to Lima 2) take a plane to Cusco 3) take a bus to Ollantaytambo 4) take a train to Aguas Calientes 5) take a bus to Machu Picchu, although I don't recommend it. Machu Picchu is situated almost 3000 metres over the sea level, so it's not a good idea to go there straight from the beach in Lima.

I sleep in Cusco and get up early in the morning. I need to reorganise things in my backpack, because it has to be small to meet the requirements of the security people in Machu Picchu. I catch a bus to Ollantaytambo, and all I do is stick my nose to the window, admiring the magnificent view over the Valle Sagrado de los Inkas and the Urubamba river. The train station in Ollantaytambo has perhaps the best supply in South America: you can buy here anything you want, especially memory cards to any camera.

Now, the only possible way of getting to Machu Picchu (apart from walking the Inka Trail) is by train. It takes about an hour, and you can admire the jungle, the river and the mountains. Then you can take one of the buses - they are all modern and comfortable, and leave every 10 seconds - or walk up the ruins of the city. The road leads just next to the abyss and is narrow and winding; I think sometimes it's better not to look through the window, because the view is as much breathtaking as simply scary.

I reach Machu Picchu at about 11:30. It's situated on a high hill surrounded by the Urubamba river. The air is quite humid and there are a lot of annoying insects. I am just standing and looking at first, but there is so much more to do than only see the most famous view over the city, take a facebook-suitable photo and leave.

Machu Picchu is still a vast archeological site, although you won't see any diggers or anything of this sort. I mean, there is plenty of stuff dug out every now and then, and the scientists still find gold there. The city is divided into a few parts, some of them are religious, some of them are houses, some of them are gardens or zoos. There are a lot of andenes which the llamas and the alpacas are grazing on, there are a lot of weird plants, a lot of secret passages, stone constructions, temples, wells and tracks. I follow one of these tracks and find myself on the Puerta del Sol, a view from which is more worth seeing than anything I have ever seen earlier.

The bad thing about Machu Picchu is that you can't stay up late there and watch the sunset. I mean, you can probably find some REALLY overpriced hotel in Aguas Calientes if you miss the last train to Ollantaytambo, but I guess walking back that horrible winding road through the jungle alone at night is a little too hardcore. Therefore I'm pretty lucky to make it on time and catch the last bus for the last train. A few hours later I'm back in Cusco.
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Where I stayed
Cusco

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