Lots of Inca

Cusco Travel Blog

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6:30am at Machu Picchu

Despite the last few days being the most expensive of our trip so far, it's hard to put a price on seeing Machu Picchu, especially when we got the only sunny day amidst the first rain we've seen for a month. We ended up getting the train from Poroy (as the station in Cusco was blockaded - sound familiar?) to Agua Calientes, where we spent the afternoon playing cards & listening to the rain and the evening eating cheap food & drinking pisco sours with a lovely Canadian couple about our parents age.

Up at 5am the next morning to walk down to the bus stop, only to find about 100 keener people already waiting. Still, we managed to survive the winding bus road and get into Machu Picchu before most of the crowds arrived - got the classic photo shot of the whole site without people milling around :o)

Wandering around the ruins it's hard to imagine quite what the Incas were like and why they would build this place.

Fooling around
Wall after wall, terrace after terrace, all amazingly crafted from stone and fitting in with the natural contours of the mountains, it's a remarkable place. We managed to climb Wayna Picchu for an amazing panoramic view of the whole site - nice narrow stone steps to climb up and down... Also made it up to the Sun Gate where the Inca trail arrives and can well imagine that dawn looks spectacular from there.

We spent a good 6 hours at Machu Picchu: trying to avoid tourists, take some different photos from the normal, make up what things were (guides cost money...) and not die of hunger. By the time we headed on our walk back to the train station we were very content. In short, Machu Picchu is definitely another of those places you can't really describe but just need to experience. Hopefully the photos do it some justice.

Either side of being wowed by MP we've had three very enjoyable days wandering the streets of Cusco, even with the rain.
From Wayna Picchu
It's a very clean city, no high rise buildings in sight and plenty of cobbled streets. Real mix of cultures, both from the Inca & Colonial mix and the modern mix of Peruvian and backpacker. Easily the first place we've been where that integration of cultures works seemingly easily. We even found a cafe that could provide Sarah a flat white coffee - instant happiness.

Today we visited Saqsaywaman, an old Inca fortress, with even more marveling at how they cut rock so perfectly, let alone transport it up a big hill. Rain at lunch meant we sheltered in some caves/passageways that Sarah reckons were the old burial grounds, but again we just make this stuff up. Also went to Qoricancha, the former most important temple in the Incan empire that was subsequently taken over by Dominican Monks. Monks are still there and have done a good job of preserving the bizarre mix of architectures (Inca walls with colonial church on top) and making the site a museum.
View of Plaza de Armas
Even the English translations are done well - monks know their stuff.

Anyhow, off to Arequipa in about half an hour, will write from there after hopefully exploring the Colca Canyon.

Luke

bandrcarey says:
Dear Luke and Sarah, Hope you did not get lost in the Colca Canyon! Have been searching to discover where Arequipa is in the world!.
The life down here is at its height of craziness with the end of school term and build up for Christmas. I was able to discover that I could leave Southwell a week earlier which reduces my stress level down many notches! You two will be so laid back by the time you get here we will be lining up for lessons!
The sun is out and summer is here. All is ready kind of! Will save the Christmas tree decorating for you!
We look for your blog each morning and say another prayer for you when it isn't there!
LOve you, continue to take care of each other!
Mum Carey
Posted on: Nov 24, 2009
t3dvb says:
I've finally cracked it with Ro's help - why you have to log in and then exit and reenter the site before you post a comment I can't quite work out. Anyway, sounds brilliant and we love the pictures. I've sent the link to Brian so that he can show Gran and Grampy, too. Love you Mum xxxxxxxxxxxx
Posted on: Nov 20, 2009
geokid says:
Nice write up!!!!!
Posted on: Nov 20, 2009
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6:30am at Machu Picchu
6:30am at Machu Picchu
Fooling around
Fooling around
From Wayna Picchu
From Wayna Picchu
View of Plaza de Armas
View of Plaza de Armas
Lacking roofs
Lacking roofs
Rain clears the crowds in the Plaza
Rain clears the crowds in the Plaza
Cusco
photo by: Vlindeke