Edit Blog Post
Published: July 20th 2006
Going to Machu Pichu was an interesting and fun few days. I was actually expecting it to be packed with people and covered with rubbish but I was pleasantly surprised. We did the bog standard four day tour which was three days trekking arriving on the fourth day to see the sun rise. There were a lot less tourists than normal due, we think to the world cup which was in the semi final stage. Laurence was the only British guy in sight and it was all quite peaceful really. I am a bit suspicious of the talks the guides gave on the route as our one seemed to be give one quite different to another guide we over heard so when we got to Machu Pichu we decided to skip the tour and head straight up Wyna Pichu with two football crazy Germans Michelle and Johannes for even more of a view. Then Laurence and me headed down a trail that takes you in a big loop around the peninsular to see a moon temple in a cave. (The Germans heading back to catch their Match) This was probably a mistake however as there were a load of spiritualists from
the US meditating in it with incense and rather ruining the view of the interesting structures in the cave. We ended up hiking for 6 hours that day as well due to this detour.
There was also something else to note about the Inca trail. Steps. A lot of steps.
I ´m not sure what to think about the Incas. Though you have to hand it to them, they didn’t have writing, iron, the wheel, the arch or horses (you can’t ride llamas) they made up for all this by covering their empire with steps. I think that may well have been their only great break thorough really. They conquered everything with steps and terraces. Ingenious!
Oh and we had a tarantula in the food tent one night which was funny as everyone screamed and jumped out the way.
In order to make the trip more interesting we bought a book in Cusco called “Incas” by the chronicler Garciosa de la Venga who was the son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca princess. Its quite detailed and a good book to get a basic idea about how Inca society used to be structured. He does however twist a
A site on route.
On the last night of the trek we camped near this fantastic site. we arrived as the sun was dying just in time to quickly explore the ruins.
few things in order to be loyal to his native Peru. (He declares that the Incas abolished child sacrifice when actually they did it quite frequently) It does throw up some interesting facts however. They didn’t need to build prisons as most things were punishable by death and they only built them if they wanted someone to have a particularly horrible death by putting lots of jungle snakes in with them. Ummmm nice. Crime doesn’t seem to have been a massive problem.
He also mentions this interesting bridge that used to hang over the Apurimac river (To the north west of Cusco). Made in 1350 by Inca Roca it was a stratigic structure used to press his troops north from Cusco ( the old capital ) through the Vilcabamba range of mountains. It was a giant suspension bridge made out of rope from the cactus Maguey, which was the most available material. Every year it had to be re plated bit by bit but was in use for more that 500 years. It was the longest suspension bridge the Spanish had encountered with a length of 148 feet and was the biggest one of its kind known. I read a
short novel yesterday called “The Bridge of San Luis Rey” written by Thornton Wilder in which the bridge is featured. The book starts on the bridge on the day it breaks flinging 5 souls into the abyss. Good book. In another book I am reading called "Highway to the Sun" by Victor von Hagan there is a chapter on this bridge but here they refer to it as the Huacachaca bridge (Holly bridge) over the “great speaker” which is what Apurimac means. Here he mentions that one of the reasons Hiram Bingham ( Discoverer of numerous Inca sites including Machu Pichu) was inspired to come to Peru was a dramatic wood cut of the bridge by a guy called Squier. It is quite interesting as we went quite close to the site where this bridge used to hang when we were on our next trek to Choquequirao ( see Choquequirao entry) but didn’t realize until after.
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