We reached Machu Picchu!!

Machu Picchu Travel Blog

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The Sun Gate, without the sun sadly!

At 4.30am on Day 4 we were harshly awoken to mixed feelings: eventually our time had come to see Machu Picchu, but did I have to get up still feeling the effects of the night before and with a hangover impending?!

Of course the answer was yes and we set off on the relatively straight-forward last couple of hours treking, only to be frustrated in our attempts to make it there in good time by the much slower groups in front of us.  Traditionally the rush is to make it to the Sun Gate to see the sunrise over the entire site, but even before we got there we knew that we weren´t going to be priviledged enough to enjoy this sight - it was after all another very misty day!  Still, we climbed the extremely steep steps to the small but beautiful ruin that is the Sun Gate with some excitement and no idea what to expect, only to find a wall of mist limiting our vision to little more than 10 metres.

The llamas that greeted us
  So we carried on along the path...

The first indication we were almost about to be able to see something was the few llamas casually grazing on some terraces, and then a little beyond we could vaguely make out some more terracing and general bits of ruins.  It was enough to convince me that we must have made it, but the clouds were low and swirling round such that the vastness of the site could only be guessed at from the snatched shots seen on postcards before the trek had begun.  One of the few things I could see was John, the one group member who instead of doing the Inca Trail had taken the train that morning and despite our extremely early start had still managed to get there ahead of us.  I was somewhat disheartened!

Gradually though the mist that had settled all over the site began to clear, alowing us a gradually increasing view of the legend that was Machu Picchu.

An intriguingly misty Machu Picchu
  Almost as soon as it cleared it returned, and this was the course over the next few hours.  Nevermind, we began our guided tour of the site where bit by bit we were shown where people had been buried, where llamas were scarificed and where worship had taken place.  We were told that the site, for all its beauty and mystical location hidden among the mountains, was never a really important Inca base and that the idea the Spanish had never encountered it after their conquest was probably a myth.  Even the American explorer who had discovered it had been looking for a different more imprtant place.

The experience with the mist and clouds might have been a disappointment to some, but the way in which the majesty of the place was revealed to us I thought was added to its beauty as well as the understanding of how this place could have remained hidden from generations for 400 odd years.

Just one bit of Machu Picchu
  It stands on an outcrop, surrounded by mountains but not actually built onto the face of one of them as I had previously thought.  And there´s a large river running down below - a pretty amazing location in all.  And the numbers of buildings and terracing that make up the site, and the steepness of the climbs from one part to another, made Machu Picchu every bit as beautiful as I had hoped (and this taking into consideration that often the places with the big build up fail to match expectations).

Once the tour had ended I amde my way back up to where we had started, and as I waited for the clouds to clear once again got the view I had been hoping for the first time.  It was great just to sit up there and contemplate the view and its grandness.

A view down the valley
  A little way away from the site is a bridge the Incas had built up using bricks upon bricks to get across part of the mountain valley that they ahd been unable to cut into the steep cliff face.  This itself was a wonderfully intriguing sight - how had they ever managed to start the construction of this thing given its perilous location?

In total I spent about 6 hours at the site and waited until the very last minute to catch the bus down to Machu Micch village below where I had to meet up with my tour group.  I could have stayed there all day, largely trying to capture with the camera the perfect shots that are so legendary but which would have been impossible without a clearer sky.  I was kept entertained by a few large rodents - like a cross between a rat and a squirrel but much larger - which I discovered playing in some rocks on one of the more obscure parts of the site.

The view over the site as the mist cleared
  And I wished that I had the time to climb the overlooking moutain which would have afforded great views of the site with the clouds having almost cleared by the time I had to leave.  But it wasn´t to be, perhaps next time....

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The Sun Gate, without the sun sadl…
The Sun Gate, without the sun sad…
The llamas that greeted us
The llamas that greeted us
An intriguingly misty Machu Picchu
An intriguingly misty Machu Picchu
Just one bit of Machu Picchu
Just one bit of Machu Picchu
A view down the valley
A view down the valley
The view over the site as the mist…
The view over the site as the mis…
And the initial view we had of the…
And the initial view we had of th…
As the mist cleared...
As the mist cleared...
Just one bit of Machu Picchu
Just one bit of Machu Picchu
Just one bit of Machu Picchu
Just one bit of Machu Picchu
Me and Machu Picchu
Me and Machu Picchu
Just one bit of Machu Picchu
Just one bit of Machu Picchu
Just one bit of Machu Picchu
Just one bit of Machu Picchu
A friend I amde at the site!
A friend I amde at the site!
Sorry, I somewhat spoil this shot!
Sorry, I somewhat spoil this shot!
The view over the site as the mist…
The view over the site as the mis…
A view across the site
A view across the site
Machu Picchu
photo by: NazfromOz