The Lost City of the Incas
Trip Start May 04, 2011
89Trip End Ongoing
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What I did
From our accommodation we trained 1.5 hrs to the town below Machu Picchu, eventually arriving about 11am
Reaching the summit of MP is definitely a spectacular moment and the sharp mountains that peak out above the valley landscape makes it all the more monumental. I can see why the Incas chose to set up shop here, but hauling those massive rocks and blocks up these slopes is ridiculous. The story of MP is quite intriguing. Construction of the city was never finished because of an Inca civil war that broke out in the 1530's near Cusco (?) and all the citizens of MP left to fight in the civil war
Our guide took us on a 2 hr tour of the site. Not as cold as imagined, but it did sprinkle rain for a bit, but overall very good weather. The clouds crossing the top of the mountains make it even more mystical. We walked through temples, houses, education centres, workshops, and more. There is not much known about the Incas because they had not established a written form of language and the Spanish did not document much. There were not as many engravings or carvings as I expected, and no statues remain insitu. But they have rebuilt some houses to represent what they would have looked like in the day. Overall, for something built in the 1400’s, it is primitive. This may be controversial to say, but that is my view...if it was 1400 BC, it would be more impressive to me. This interests me how different human civilisations and cultures evolved at vastly different paces across the planet. We’ve talked about this a lot in Ghana too.
Once the guide left us for our free time, the group split up and we did a bit of exploring before returning to the town below
I finally got a sleep-in the next day and didn’t get out of bed until 11 am for our only free day on this tour. It was exactly what I needed and helped shake off most of the gastro symptoms. I met up with Melissa and we visited the main cathedral in the Cusco main square – impressive gold gilded interior and nice views over the square. Then we explored some shops and walked down to the market and bought ridiculous amounts of stuff, but all very cheap and all the stores engage in bargaining, which I am pretty good at (if I don’t say so myself!). I had expected a lot of llama products, but it is alpaca moreso because the wool is softer. Catching a taxi back to the main square cost 3 sols ($1.15)!! I find that the fumes from vehicles hang in the air here; maybe the high altitude or just the high emissions from the old cars...either way, it makes me feel sick and always takes me back to those journey’s to Quairading in the Torana!
So, that wraps up the Inca experience component of the tour. I am typing this entry from the comfort of 7 hr bus trip to Puno in southern Peru. The seats actually are very comfortable. I liked the Inca part of the tour, but would have liked more of the actual Inca culture and statutes etc rather than just a series of buildings. I am glad though that we visited that museum in Lima before doing this and got visuals of the artefacts that were found in all these temples, houses etc.