What can we say? Machu Picchu is amazing and a definite must see for every Peru visitor. It’s spectacular and awe-inspiring location, makes the Inca city so unique. It was never discovered by the Spanish conquistadors but many years later, 1911, by an American historian, Hiram Bingham, who actually was looking for another lost Inca city. The site was initially overgrown with thick vegetation and they had to work hard to clear the thick forest. Many archaeologists came to undertake studies but up and until now the knowledge of Machu Picchu remains sketchy. Some believe that the citadel was founded in the waning years of the last Incas as an attempt to preserve Inca culture or rekindle their predominance, while others think it may have already become an uninhabited, forgotten city at the time of the Spanish conquest. Recent suggestions hold that the site was a royal retreat or country palace that was abandoned when the Spanish invasion took hold of Cuzco. All coincided though that it must have been an important ceremonial centre.
As you can imagine this magical place attracts many tourists so in order to see the site with less people then 500 at a time, you have to be there early in the morning. We spent the night at Aguas Calientes and got up early at 4:30, had breakfast at 5:00 and were at the bus station at 5:15. There were already about 25 people standing in line waiting for the bus. Within 15 minutes there came about 100 more people just to give you an idea about the flow of tourists. We were lucky and got on the second bus and at 6:00 we were at the Inca city. It was still a bit dark but we could already see the shapes and contours of the ruins. The site was covered with a beautiful ghastly morning mist which disappeared after an hour or two. After having taking the first pictures of the mighty city, we went for a short scenic walk (20 minutes) through some cloud forest vegetation to see the Inca drawbridge which lies on the other side of the ruins. The passage of the bridge was prohibited though since some years ago someone fell of the bridge to his death.
We went back to the ruins, crossed the site, took more photos and headed for the registration booth for the Huayna Picchu ascent.
Huayna Picchu is a steep mountain at the back of the Machu Picchu ruins from where you have a spectacular view of the Inca city. The ascent is quite exhausting, but if you go at your own pace it is not a problem to get up there. And, the views are breathtaking! See for yourself….
At 11.00 we were back in Aguas Calientes ready for a big lunch. We spent another night in the Machu Picchu Pueblo and left by train the next morning at 5:45 heading for Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo we took a bus to Cuzco and from Cuzco we took another bus to Puno, at Lake Titicaca, where we are right now.
Bye for now, amigos.
Sabrina and Fredrik