The nerves can we but in the end we get to sleep. We had not been so nervous on a trip for a long time. We were a few hours away from the real icing on the trip to Peru, the roof, the peak ...
We write already from Cuzco. We are defeated, ground, exhausted, exhausted. Any adjective falls short. The beating that we have gotten these two days touring Machu Picchu has been I think the biggest we have done on a trip. From the Citadel, the urban area, the crop area, going back down the Inca Trail to the Puerta del Sol, going to look for the famous Inca Bridge and even, as a climax, the ascent to the HURANA Picchu HARDNESS. But Machu Picchu has two faces, both at two very opposite ends ...
We started the day very early, having breakfast by inertia and going down to Ollantaytambo Station where the Perurail company would take us by bus up to a few kilometers later (to Pisacucho, km82), since the damage we talked about yesterday DAY 10 of the trip They have cut all this iron section. The driver seems to be late somewhere ... !! but man! where are you going? Now we begin to understand the "max 35 km / h" and "do not overtake" signs on the sides of the road (!! the madman has touched us !!) on a path of sand and stone pauperrimo. !!! WE ARRIVED !! !! AND LIVE!
There is only two ways to get to Machu Picchu:
- He Hard Inca trail of 2 or 4 days, which according to all the stories and people with whom we speak, has a very hard journey and requires a good physical form and of weather to fit it in the itinerary. In addition, he has the false promise that you get to see Machu Picchu at dawn, before anyone else, which seems to have nothing to do with reality.
- He expensive Gringo road, tourist, which consists of combining a slow train desperate (1h 20 min from Pisacucho, so from Ollantaytambo or Cuzco half a life) that costs about $ 100-120 i / v with buses They go from Aguas Calientes where you leave the train to the main entrance (another $ 14) up a thousand curves trail. Add to this the entrance (others approx 25-30 $ per day), meals at prices x 10 and stay 2 days that duplicates tickets and buses and ... !! PREPARE THE WALLET !!
We inevitably opt for the second one because at this point of travel we do not sincerely believe we can face a very hard road, nor do we have the necessary time to face it. They say it is an experience. !! Passengers on the train !!
The railway transport company has been concessioning since Machu Picchu began to be exploited tourism (according to some Peruvians with doubtful negotiations), despite the real possibility of being able to open the operation to land transport. The reality is that the landscape through which it runs is a true wonder, even you feel a little adventurous there stuck in the canyon of such mountains bordering the Vilcanota River, now called Urubamba from the passage through that population. After 9'40 we arrived in Aguascalientes, also called Machu Picchu Pueblo.
The people of Inkaterra Machu Picchu (ARTICLE IN CHAVETAS WITH ALL THE DETAILS HERE) to pick up the backpack of clothes that we carry and thus facilitate us to take as soon as possible the bus of ascent from which we had already brought the tickets from Cuzco (another 20 minutes). We also bought some "puchos" just in case (although it was not necessary, 6 SOLES both)
The climb is 10-12 steep curves on an unpaved and bumpy road. A whole journey to get here.
It's 10'20 and we finally reach our goal. We still shake our legs a little. We are nervous It's time to touch another dream come true. There are not too many people waiting to enter so we take supplies (!! the ruin !! water, twsit and bathroom 21 SOLES) and ... !! here we go !! The red line will be our morning tour (the map is taken from Google Images)
Nothing to enter there is a kind of office / slogan on the left where you can seal the passport (we do it) and there is a kind of path that leads you to make a first decision. Stairs or terraces. We choose the stairs to take more height and to observe the Citadel in its full splendor.
It was in 1911 when Hiram Bingham, looking for the city of Vilcabamba and almost the result of chance, as previously happened to Jean Louis Burckhardt when he arrived in Petra (trip to Jordan 2006 or Syria 2009), "Re-discovered" (it is said that previously a German businessman had already arrived) one of the most important sacred places of the Inca Civilization.
We have lowered height with respect to Cuzco but still we weigh our legs, possibly a mixture of tiredness and nervousness. The trees cover our vision almost until we begin to dazzle the end of the road, which seems to be over. In the background we see the famous peak that appears in the typical photos of the place ... We are approaching ... begins to gradually see part of the constructions of the Citadel until ... !! MAGICOOOOOO !! !! INCREDIBLE! It is better than imagined. There, in the middle of the mountains, in a privileged place ... MACHU PICCHU, THE LOST CITY OF THE INCAS
The photos are taken from near the guard post or watchtower (on the map marked with a red dot, in full Agricultural sector). They are the most mythical photos of a Citadel, which results in a much more impressive person than in the photos (unlike what can happen with other wonders)
There are many legends about this city, one of them is that it was the last place not occupied by the Spaniards after the conquest of Vilcabamba, Spaniards who swept their expeditions in their search for Inca gold, led by Francisco de Pizarro around 1531 It is said that the Incas collected all the gold and buried it, or hid it in a cave or took it to a secret city in the mountains that the Spanish never found ...
Leave the Agricultural Sector of the Terraces and enter the Urban Sector in the East It's like getting into a time warp and appearing five centuries in the past. We enter through the Main City Gate and we face a succession of parallel streets that go down the slope of the mountain, many of them formerly plastered and painted.
From here we can observe the "tower" of Sun Temple which was used for ceremonies related to the June solstice (and is perfectly aligned with the Sun, demonstrating the high knowledge of Astronomy of the Incas, as the Mayans had it centuries ago that we already saw in the trip to Riviera Maya'96 at its fullest, Chichen Itza, he DAY 3 of the trip). He too Royal Mausoleum, the Royal Palace, the Sacred Square, the Main Temple, the Temple of the 3 windows or Intihuatana, "where the sun is tied," considered one of the most interesting sacred objects that aligns astronomical events with the surrounding mountains.
We keep moving forward and we can see true Quarries from where they took much of the blocks of stones used in similar buildings, the Sacred Rock, starting point of the road to Huayna Picchu that we will face tomorrow and the Dry Pit, which served as a security element. From there we face the Eastern Part of the Urban Sectorwhere do we get to The Temple of the Condor with a large stone carved in the center of a large patio with the representation of the Condor.
The Jails, he Industrial Sector and the Fountain Staircase They are also remarkable, but we could follow pages and pages detailing until the last cataloged stone ... That if, the best lawnmower, the flames ... Isaac's father, when does a flame at home? Ah, we already have Tom
It is time to eat, although we doubt that the Incas had the facilities we have now. Many people bring their own picnic (although it is theoretically prohibited to introduce food and drink). We had a meal in the famous Santuary Lodge (16.50 SOLES only the drink), a hotel of $ 800 a night (which has a waiting list) with a fabulous buffet, but as accommodation for those prices leaves much to be desired (does not have views of Machu Picchu, much to sell it like this, it has the bustle of people since 6 in the morning, it has no interesting facilities ... masters, we don't understand it). From there, back to the entrance ...
But Machu Picchu is not only its impressive Citadel. If something has enoramorado us of Machu Picchu is its location and its place. So we improvise our route for the afternoon ...
Therefore, we did not want to miss the opportunity to go back through the access of the Inca Trail, towards Intipunku, the Puerta del Sol (1 hour road)
A cobbled road starts from the Agricultural Sector in the direction of the nearby mountains. The hike is not complicated but if you notice the accumulation of efforts these days and that we continue to more than 2,000 meters (2,350 m). At certain points we see the presence of altars and even "ritual stations" as I call them Bigham
Intipunku is an important archaeological site, considered a defense point of the Citadel. Its state is maintained in quite good condition.
But far from legends and archaeological remains, if something is magical in this place they are your AWESOME VIEWS of Machu Picchu, the "old peak", with Huayna Picchu, the "young peak", in the background
It seems incredible that the Incas arrived at this place, surrounded by immense jungle and imposing mountains, to urbanize the largest Inca sanctuary and one of the most important archaeological remains in the world.
Machu Picchu gives off mysticism in its purest form. Hundreds of questions remain to be answered. Why did they leave him? It is believed that from 1565, and never found by the Spanish, a serious plague or virus spread among the population and the survivors or unaffected fled to other places. This sanctuary was abandoned to its fate and devoured by the jungle.
Start at sunset and we want to take the last pictures. The day does not give for more (does it seem little?) And we still have an experience to live in Inkaterra Machu Picchu (ITEM IN CHAVETAS WITH ALL THE DETAILS HERE). What a cool little cabin in a mini-natural park created a few steps from the Aguas Calientes train station.
We enjoy a welcome Pisco-Sour, we stroll along its cobbled streets as if it were a town within the town and dined quietly next to the Urubamba River. Today we sleep with the fireplace in the room lit ...
We do not know if it is time to reflect, but we sincerely believe that Machu Picchu is the wonder of the world, recognized or not, that has impressed us most in our travels, for its human construction, for its natural landscape, for its location, for its immensity. The photos do not make justice. Machu Picchu emanates mysticism and magic in abundance. Good evening family, friends and readers. Good night Machu Picchu.
Isaac and Paula, from Aguascalientes (Peru)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 43.50 PEN (approx 11.95 EUROS)