Along the Urubamba to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 22 › view all entries
The road up to Machu Picchu

Macchu Picchu day! We rode the train from Cusco to Macchu Picchu. The train journey began with a series of zig-zag switchbacks as the train climbed straight up out of the Cusco valley. To accomplish this, the train  first ran one way, then reversed direction to run the other way as it continued to climb on each pass. Once out of of the valley, the train continuned on to Aguas Calientes. The journey was about 3 1/2 hours, running through the Santa Ana Valley and along Urubamba River while passing villages and farms. At Aguas Calientes, a bus took us the rest of the way to Macchu Picchu.

Machu Picchu
Again the climb was straight up the mountain, this time through a series of 14 hairpin curves on the Hiram Bingham Highway.

Macchu Picchu is unforgettable. The sight of the ruins running right up the side of the mountain. UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the seven Modern Wonders. The high point of any trip that includes it. Once you see Macchu Picchu, it will always number among your most memorable travel experiences.

The view of Huayna Picchu peak overlooking the ruins is classic! It's the first thing you see as the fact that you are really there begins to sink in. I smile every time I see a TravBuddy member with that view. Then there is the rest of the site to explore. Machu Picchu is a whole city on a mountaintop and there is much to see here! Ceremonial areas, residential areas, workshops, narrow walled streets, terraced farming stretch out along the site.

Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu peak
 The purpose of many of the structures is known, archaeologists speculate abut others. Many of the structures have four walls intact and are missing only their roofs. Again, one can marvel at the closely placed stone block construction, first encountered at Sacsayhuam├ín. Everyone points out the tall Doorway for The Inca, as the ruler was called. Was the ruler actually very tall, or was he carried in a sedan chair and needed the clearance? A high pont of a visit is encountering the unique stone calendar, a large square block with a sundial-like stone column pointing skyward. The calendar stone is called Intihuatana in Quechua, meaning "Hitching Post of the Sun". (A very apt description.)

Returning to Aguas Calientes, one could look back up the mountain and not see Machu Picchu. It was well hidden indeed! The railway line here was built as regional transporation before the 1911 discovery of the ruins, not as a way to get to the ruins. But, Machu Picchu visitors had become the best customers. At the station, locals spread out an array of goods to buy--blankets, ponchos, hats, toy llamas and more.

cotton_foam says:
Congrats, Andy on this featured blog!! Gotta come back to read the journals...
Posted on: Sep 02, 2013
missandrea81 says:
It seems as if this feature was long overdue! Congrats, Andy! I will bookmark this and come back later.
Posted on: Sep 02, 2013
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The road up to Machu Picchu
The road up to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu peak
Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu peak
Machu Picchu site overview
Machu Picchu site overview
Water Cistern
Water Cistern
Stonework Detail
Stonework Detail
Tomb
Tomb
Walled street
Walled street
Intihuatana or Calendar stone
Intihuatana or Calendar stone
Looking back up the mountain towar…
Looking back up the mountain towa…
Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu
Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Urubamba River
Urubamba River
Urubamba Valley
Urubamba Valley
Village enroute to Machu Picchu
Village enroute to Machu Picchu
Pasture enroute to Machu Picchu
Pasture enroute to Machu Picchu
Farm enroute to Machu Picchu
Farm enroute to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
photo by: NazfromOz