There are few words and no pictures that can really capture what we saw today. But, since I am not a woman of few words or pictures I will share a little about our day at Machu Picchu, one of the 7 wonders of the modern world.
We opted not to begin our day too early since we were not interested in the sunrise. There is really no beating the crowds since there are about 2000 people there before 8 am each day. It starts with a long line for the bus that will take you the 20 minutes to the entrance. It is wonder I didn’t quit right there. The driver drove so fast around hair pin turns that were way too close to the edge of a cliff for me. I hated it. We did make it safely along with the thousands of others transported there today.
We first walked up to the point where most of the postcard pictures are taken.
We spent about 3 hours with our guide, and a great group of ladies from the states, touring the site and learning about the history of the Incas. It was amazing how much thought and work was put into every part of the city. We saw lots but there is tons more to be seen. There no issues with the breathing at all today but again, we descended to do Machu Picchu.
When we booked this trip we were given the option to book an additional hike so we said yes, without much research. We learned yesterday from our guide it is a brutal hike with very narrow trails and my follow up research indicated that there are places that require you to crawl hand and knees though rock formations. It is the highest point at Machu Picchu. So not for me. We considered the smaller adjacent mountain but could not reach it in time for our scheduled entrance. These trails require bookings months in advance and limit the number of people daily. We were quite pressed for time or we would have done the Sun Gate which our guide said was the easiest add on and a friend reported to be fabulous. Still a 45 minute + journey. Instead of rushing we decide to stay safe in the ruins and explore the main areas. It did not disappoint and we had no worries of sideways feet slipping of a narrow path with someone plummeting to their death.
We did have some time to stalk the local and very friendly llamas.
The llamas turned a little crazy as we were leaving when one of them tried to mate with another which was met with rejection. This was quite funny and they would run past in full pursuit/chase many times almost knocking tourist off their feet. Security had to break it up. Not sure how successful that was since when we glanced back for one last look at the city, we saw the lamas three high. We might refer to that as a threesome but I prefer to call it the Inca triple. I am, of course, applying my newfound knowledge about the Incas and the constant reference to things in three, representing the world below, the current world and the world above (afterlife).
To be honest my biggest stress about today was bathrooms. I pee enough every morning but our altitude sickness pills are a diuretic so it is even worst. On our jungle hike I was peeing constantly in the trail so I couldn’t imagine how I could manage for 5-6 hours. There are bathrooms at the entrance but that’s it and there are no woods, trees or anywhere to pee otherwise. I am pleased to report that I adequately dehydrated myself enough that I managed the entire time and wasn’t dying at the end. Given the heat I was forced to take little sips of water but still made it. Really this has to be a problem for others besides me.
We returned to Agua Caliente in time to grab a bite before heading back to Cusco. Isaac and I opted to try another local delicacy, Alpaca. It was delicious. At first it looked like beef but when cut was more like pork. It actually tasted like pork with a bit more sweetness. For the record they don’t typically eat Lamas.
I am writing this on the very long train ride back. The train is relatively comfortable but not for 3 hours. They provide a snack and drinks but it is feeling a bit long now. At one point, I felt like I was on a bad cruise ship. This guy dressed in rainbow colours, wearing a devil’s mask began dancing in the aisle. This was followed by a fashion show by the guy and girl who served us our snack. The sweaters were lovely, but not cheap and they were very aggressive in their sales pitch.
In any case, nothing could ruin this wonderful day that was topped off with clear blue skies and perfect temperatures.
We are spending all day tomorrow on a bus to Puno. The bus ride is tailored for tourists and stops at several points of interest along the way and it has wifi! Not sure if I will post tomorrow and after that we are 2 days with no wifi, running water and maybe no electricity. But I will be back as soon as I can.
Train to Machu Picchu area
and a few more