Since my last post I have done quite a few things. After leaving Ollantaytambo via Peru Rail, I arrived in Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly known as Aguas Calientes). A porter met me at the train station to take my bag to the hotel and I was off to board a bus for my tour of Machu Picchu. I had a great guide named Armando who knew pretty much everything about the archaeological site. He also did a great job of moving around to avoide the larger tour groups, giving us a chance to get a more personal experience with the site. I had a group tour and met some great folks including Lee, who was there from Hong Kong and Fabi, my new graphic artist buddy from LA.
Machu Picchu is a massive complex of buildings and terraces and stairs. Oh so many stairs. After lunch I had a chance to further explore and take a lot more photos. The crowds really start to thin out after 1:30 because so many of the visitors have to catch the 3:20 train back to Cusco. By the time I left that afternoon around 4:00, there were only about a couple hundred of us left. That sounds like a lot but considering there are a couple of thousand visitors a day (most at the same time) it really felt like I had the place to myself.
The next morning I caught the 5:30 AM bus to conquer my next big thing, climbing to the top of Wayna Picchu. Wayna Picchu is the pointy, triangular-shaped mountain you see behind Machu Picchu in the first photo. They only allow 400 visitors a day up the mountain and I had the first group of 200 that were allowed to start at 7:00 AM. It’s not a technical climb to the top but it is challenging, rising 1180 feet above Machu Picchu. The Incas built steps up the side of the mountain to the top, where they built more temples, food stores, and terraces. I won’t kid you, the climb was pretty challenging for me, being a lowland creature, but I somehow managed to huff and puff my way to the top. When I got there, I was so glad I pushed myself to do it because the views were just breathtaking.
After climbing back down, I did a little more exploring of Machu Picchu and then headed back down the mountain to grab some lunch and then catch my train back to Cusco. I was tired, my knees ached, and I was supremely happy. If Machu Picchu isn’t in your bucket list, I highly recommend it.
Next post – Cusco
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