13 October, 2012

Day 99, 4km: Macchu Pichu

Is it one of the 7 wonders of the world? Well as I read about the 7 wonders it seems that there are no official lists, apart perhaps Herodote's original sevens. He of course didn't know about the Macchu Pichu, as he lived in the fifth century BC. Macchu Pichu on the other hand was built in the fifteenth century AD.

It's truly amazing to imagine that for several thousand years people lived on the same planet with absolutely no idea (or perhaps more accurately no proof) that there were whole other continents on the other sides of the world.

So while the Inca Emperor was enjoying the view in his new palace of Macchu Pichu, da Vinci was born in Italy and the Ming were ruling China. And now the descendants of all these people travel the world freely and visit places their ancestors didn't even know existed.

Pretty cool.
Sunrise on the mountains. Macchu Pichu in the foreground, Huayna Pichu on top of the background cliff
It seems that October isn't really the high season over here. So there wasn't too big a queue for the first buses. I probably took the 2nd or 3rd, having arrived 15 minutes prior to the first departure. Just in time to see the sunset over the Macchu Pichu.

Now I have to say, that's worth it
It is indeed a glorious sight and I wish everyone will be able to experience it. Up there in the mountains, walking along the ridge's top it is impossible not to marvel at the city unfolding below. With the sun rising, it's as if you can hear the city wake up, people going to work in the fields and the emperor standing up for a new day in his glorious palace.

That totally deserved a Panorama (www.dermandar.com)
It's not the easiest place to get to, but definitely worth it. Being able to see the site before the crowd, plus on a great sunny day was awesome. The place has been restored, and the first photography of 1911 gives a different picture. The work is subtle and well done though, so you clearly get that you are looking at ruins but it doesn't take much imagination to fill them with people and life.

For the curious I recorded the above 4 minutes of video, walking along the streets of the ancient city. To see the video in its full HD glory make sure to click on the "gear" icon in the bottom right and select 720p.
I hope it'll give you an idea of what the place is like and the desire to come and see it for yourself.

The Inka Bridge
After walking an hour or so through the ruins I started wandering around the site, following random posts. One said "Inka Bridge". It was an alternate "secret" route to the Macchu Picchu, that could be disabled if the need arose by removing the trunks covering a 6m gap.

No way I would get closer than that to a 600m vertical drop
There was another site, Huayna Pichu, on a cliff overlooking the Macchu Pichu. Tickets to get there are limited and I couldn't get my hands on one. The visit of the site itself doesn't take that long really, so I sat somewhere with a nice view, opened an e-book (haha!) and spent the next two hours lying in the grass. That was a great morning :-)

I also tried to get artistic and all
Around 11am the sky put on a white cape and the amount of people meant reading quietly was hard. I headed back to Aguas Calientes, with plenty of time to catch my 2pm train back to Santa Teresa.

Huanya Pichu high up there
So overall my impression on the Macchu Pichu is that it's pretty hard to get to, on the expensive side, but totally worth it.

Back at Eco Quechua Lodge
Back at the hotel around 3pm, I relaxed before the night, did a short ride to Santa Teresa and had a quiet but good dinner at the hotel, before going to bed early. Waking up at 4.30am takes some getting used to.

Cheers everyone,

1 comment:

  1. Geee...and you get great weather too...
    Jealous - it's splendid, really.
    You start looking like a real explorer too... :)