Trip climax.

Machu Picchu Travel Blog

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Certainly the brightest most polished train I've seen on the trip.

Hello All,

Well today had sooooo much packed into it that my head is reeling.  It was an early wake up call for me today.  I also had to packup all of my things, save for what was needed for the daytrip, and move it up a relatively steep hill to HosterĂ­a de Anita.

I treated myself to a taxi to the train station for three soles, and things were pretty straightforward getting onto the train.  I had a Backpackers Class seat, and although the train was pretty immaculate, the seats were not ideal for a tired 6'1" guy to relax in.  Once underway, the trip was very cool.  Immediately out of Cuzco we negotiated a load of switchbacks to climb a good size hill.

I had heard that Mach Picchu was at a much lower elevation then Cuzco, and I figured we must be going down quite a bit after this.

Urubamba River view from the train.
  Well we did, but it was much more gradual.  We went through some beautiful country, including a good stretch along the Urubamba River valley.  After about four hours we pulled into the train station at Aguas Calientes, also called the Machu Picchu Pueblo.  It was then a mad rush to get to one of the busses to take us up to Machu Picchu.

The bus was a ride in it's own right.  Another rides up a steep, switchbacked, hillside to the site itself.  I don't think the recent rains made things any better, but we got up there pretty quickly.  Machu Picchu itself is entirely amazing.

Here you can see the trail going up the left hand side of Huayna Picchu.
  I quickly calculated that I only had a real 3 hours and 45 minutes at MP.  I really wish that the trains would have been available to make this a 3D/2N trip, but I really am just happy to be here as well.

I decided to not hire a guide, but I had naturally read up a ton on MP and it's features so I figured I was in good shape.  I headed first towards Huayna Picchu.  HP is the mountain next to the MP site that you either see in all photos of MP, or that all pics of MP are taken from.  It is reportedly a pretty tough climb, but I have done so much on this trip that I haven't done before I'm determined to climb it.

It really isn't so bad.  I guess I can thank nine days at elevation for helping out my lungs on the climb, and I have visions of super powers once reaching Lima at sea level tomorrow.

The view from Huayna Picchu. Machu Picchu is on the right, and the road up to the site with all the switchbacks is on the left.
  But I have more to worry about right now as I reach the trickiest part of the climb, and the view of the valley below is much closer then I would like it to be.  I man up, as do many children in the area, and make it to the top to be rewarded by the spectacular view spread out before me.  Very nice.

I take a few pics before realizing my camera batteries are not at full strength, and head back down.  Machu Picchu is not only a spectacular Archaeological site, it is one of those unreal, new-age type of feelings you can't really describe. It's the kind of place that you want to find yourself a spot away from everybody else, and sit there and take it all in.  But there aren't really a huge amount of those spots away from people when you are there on the day trip.

I'll leave most of the MP details off, but suffice to say that it was a stunning mountain retreat for the royalty of the Inca Empire to get away from the hussle and bussle of 1300's and 1400's Cuzco.

A great view of Machu Picchu, with Huayna Picchu in the background right. It's alot higher then it looks.
  Not an ancient city, like most archaeological discoveries, but something much more intimate and homey.  It's a real contrast between other places I've visited, Tikal in Guatemala, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia.  In both of the other places you tend to suffer from temple burnout after visiting so many things.  MP is much more of an encapsulated place, but in such a grand site.

I read that soon a bridge will be built that will allow direct bus access to MP.  I certainly do like the idea of breaking the monopoly of PeruRail, which seems to be overpriced, and offers very few time options for variety.  And I've never been one of those people that bitches about too many visitors or tourists.  Tikal and Ankor Wat were both easily accessable by road, and very crowded, but were still amazing and awe-inspiring.

The Templo de las tres Ventanas. (Three Windows)
  I certainly would have loved more, and cheaper, options available to me.  And I hope that in the future it makes visiting Machu Picchu even better.

The train back was just the reverse of the other trip, but I felt much more comfortable for some reason.  The view of Cuzco coming back down the hill into the station was very cool in the dark.  Cuzco's population is at about 300,000, and they a certainly spread out in a beautiful valley.  I look forward to trying to orient myself better when my flight leaves out of the Cuzco Airport, and to the flight and views over the Andes if the weather co-operates.

I've got a 12 hour layover in Lima tomorrow, and I have no clue what I'm going to do.  If I can check my bags at the airport, maybe I'll take a taxi into town for some ceviche and sightseeing.  One more night in South America.

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Certainly the brightest most polis…
Certainly the brightest most poli…
Urubamba River view from the train.
Urubamba River view from the train.
Here you can see the trail going u…
Here you can see the trail going …
The view from Huayna Picchu.  Mach…
The view from Huayna Picchu. Mac…
A great view of Machu Picchu, with…
A great view of Machu Picchu, wit…
The Templo de las tres Ventanas.  …
The Templo de las tres Ventanas. …
El Templo del Sol.  (Temple of the…
El Templo del Sol. (Temple of th…
Machu Picchu
photo by: NazfromOz