The ultimate city

Machu Picchu Travel Blog

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And there is absolutely no way to describe just how incredible Machu Picchu is.  In spite of the fact that it is inundated with tourists (of which we were the superior as we had walked to get there) it has an amazing atmosphere of serenity and calm and there is no way to convey just how awefilled you feel as you walk across the grass surrounded by 500-year old buildings and breathtaking mountains.

I have skipped the four-day "Inca torture" as there is just too much to saya bout the walk.  Let{s see if I can sum up... excruciating, long, exhilerating, breathtaking, exhausting, and a great personal achievement.  The second day was .... hellish.  As I was a slow walker anyway and it is the longest day, it took me 8 hours of walking (5.5 up, 2.5 down) to crest Dead Woman{s Pass.  I shared the expĂ©rience with Sheryll, an english girl who was just as slow as i was (hooray).  We dragged each other up the mountain, coached each other through the pscyhological exhaustion of seeing the mountainside just keep going up, and up, and up, and up .... and more up.

And then, you thought it would get easier cos you were going down.  Wrong.  The down is steeper than the up and the majority of the trail was formed into a path of huge uneven stones, and massive steps - too high to be comfortable or easy on the knees.

Anyway, suffice to say it was an experience.

Walking to Machu Picchu is the ONLY way to do it.  Catching a bus to walk around the ruins does not give you any appreciation of the history and accomplishment - plus the emotional and character-building experience of walking for four days to reach the city.

Unfortunjately, the down side of walking is that by the time you reach free time to wanderthe city, you are shattered and just want to lie down.  There were only a few crazy walkers who had enough energy to then climb little Machu Picchu, the small mountain spire that overlooks the city.  I was not one of them.

Althogh I do have to say that after three days of always bringing up the rear, I made it from our last camp to the Sun Gate in only 40 minutes - an absolute sprint beginning in total darkness and climbing some of the steepest steps (the famous 50 steps) of the whole trip.  Actually I mean crawling, they are too steep to climb.

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Machu Picchu
photo by: NazfromOz