Macchu Picchu

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July 2nd 2007
Published: July 2nd 2007
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The big day arrived. The only way to get to Macchu Picchu is take a train from Cusco or the Sacred Valley, so we were on the 8:00 train that follows the Urubamba River to the end of the line at a small town called Aguas Caliente. It was a 90 minute trip with beautiful scenery. We were going down, so the vegetation became lush and jungle-like as we got closer to the end. In Aguas Calientes you have to take a 15 minute ride up the mountain on a bus, or you can hike for a couple of hours straight up. We, of course, opted for the bus. The road is dirt and has many tight switch-back curves in order to get to the top of the mountain. The views of the mountains were breath-taking. Since it was midmorning, there was still a haze over the peaks. It was kind of an eerie scene. The elevation made hiking a problem, so we slowly made our way to the ruins. There were not many people there yet, so we felt like we had the place to ourselves. It's an amazing place. Anthropologists or history buffs would go wild. We slowly walked to different spots in the ruins, and took many time-outs along the way. Macchu Picchu was an entire city built by the Incans before the Spanish Invasion. It is hidden in a bowl-shaped area on top of one of the very high mountains. It was abandoned even before the Spanish arrived in Peru, and historians don't really know why. The only people who even knew it existed were some of the local mountain farmers. In 1911, explorer Hiram Bingham was taken to the ruins by one of these farmers. He is credited with its modern discovery. It was just recently put on the list of the Eight Wonders of the World. After seeing as much of it as our oxygen-deprived bodies could take, we returned to Aguas Calientes for lunch and people watching until our train returned us to Ollantaytambo for our last night in the Sacred Valley. We found a great place to eat, and we enjoyed alpaca steaks. Pretty good!

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