Published: July 17th 2011April 22nd 2011
Breathtaking view of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu
Today was going to be a day I would remember for the rest of my life, it was one of those, once in a lifetime experiences that fuels my love for travelling. Today we were visiting one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu. I jumped out of bed to the sound of my alarm, thrilled about the day ahead. Hannah and I got ready and packed our bags once again to meet the rest of the group downstairs for breakfast. I was so excited about today I wasn’t hungry at all, I just wanted to get going to spend as much time as possible in Machu Picchu. We walked through the streets of Aguas Calientes to the bus stop where we had to split up to get the bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu. It was a long and windy road to the entrance and as we went higher the visibility became very poor, I was worried that we’d come all this way to see nothing but clouds, I was praying they would go away. We met the rest of the group who were also concerned around the fog, even Max was surprised, but he assured
Machu Picchu hidden by thick clouds
us it would clear up.
We followed Max through the gates and up a winding walking path covered in trees, until we reached the top. Unfortunately it was so cloudy, no-one really knew where to look. Max was our tour guide today, he had been to Machu Picchu over 30 times and knew his way around very well. While we couldn’t see much, he talked us through the history of this scared place and showed us some old photos of what it looked like when it was originally found. As he went on the clouds started to lift and slowly Machu Picchu revealed itself, as the crowds gasped and rushed to get a good photo. We had a spectacular view of the ancient city and it was just mind blowing. The scale was incredible, it really is impossible to put into words how magnificent this place is, it’s something you can only ever experience to get a true appreciation of how beautiful it is. The clouds cleared just enough to get a good view but no sooner did they go, they returned, so we moved on following Max to another viewpoint.
Again, the clouds cleared, almost completely this
Amazing view for Machu Picchu and the Urubamba River in the valley below
time, it gave us an awesome opportunity to take some photos. This place was just incredible, I was taking photo after photo trying to get the most amazing shot I could. Looking out, Machu Picchu was completely surrounded in Mountains in every direction and when the clouds cleared enough you could even see the Urubamba River at the bottom of the Valley. As we moved closer and closer to the city itself, you wonder how an earth it was created, some of the rocks up here were huge. Max guided us through the city streets and we explored in and out of houses fascinated by this amazing place. We were guided through the spiritual and religious areas of the city, there was one particular rock which amazing me. Being in the southern hemisphere it was shaped like the Southern Cross, in fact when you placed a compass on it the rock pointed directly South, amazing that the Incas were so in tune with the stars.
As we walked through the city, the clouds were high in the sky and the sun was coming out. As we continued through the city, some of the group were keen on trekking up
Exploring the buildings around the ancient city
to the Sun Gate, but unfortunately we did not have enough time. Instead we continued our way through various temples and buildings until eventually we had done a loop. We had a little time on our own to explore but most of us decided to start making our way back, there were so many people here now that the queue for the bus back was going to be huge, and it was. We eventually returned to Aguas Calientes and made out way back to the hotel to pick up our bags. Once everyone had returned we had a brief walk around the small town and had lunch at a buffet restaurant with live Peruvian music. Hannah took the opportunity of having mobile signal to call Iberia and ask about her luggage, typically they had no idea where it was or weren’t willing provide any compensation. Thankfully as we were walking back to Aguas Calientes train station, she received a message in Spanish that her luggage had been found at would wait for her at Lima airport.
We boarded the train for another fantastic Andean Highland train ride back into Ollantaytambo as we reflected on an awesome trip it’s been.
From from one of the windows of the city
When we returned we walked back into the main square where our coach was waiting for us. We jumped aboard for the very long drive all the way back into Cusco, it had to of been 3 hours, almost everyone fell asleep, we were exhausted. We returned to Cusco in the early evening to the hotel where it all started, we were given our room keys and headed upstairs to get ourselves ready for a big night out in Cusco. Later that we met the group downstairs where there were a number of taxis waiting for us, we jumped in and were dropped off at the beautiful main square in Cusco. Dinner was at a restaurant in the square and no sooner after we arrived a traditional Peruvian show began in the middle of the restaurant. Unusually it involved getting people out of their seats to whip the performers, and be whipped in return, I was one of them. I nearly took out an older woman sitting at the table next to us! Afterwards we had drinks at a pub in the square, before some of the group went out clubbing. Hannah and I were way too exhausted to be
Stunning view in and about Machu Picchu
out late, so we headed back to the hotel with a few others who felt the same. Accommodation:
There are more photos below