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Published: October 9th 2007
Well, we are in the Land of the Incas about to visit one of the new official Wonders of the World, the Lost City of the Incas and all I can say is.....I'm tired!
The 'new' 7 Wonders of the World have just been announced this July although the advertising campaign would seem to be ongoing by the amount of posters we have seen with the president of Peru ordering all Peruvians to vote for Machu Picchu. Strange we've heard nothing about England's only nominee (Stonehenge.) Anyway, the official new wonders are as follows:
• Machu Picchu, Peru
• Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
• Colosseum, Italy
• Great Wall of China
• Taj Mahal, India
• Petra, Jordan
• Chichen Itza, Mexico
We had a very early wake up call in order to get the first bus up to Machu Picchu which left at 5.30am. Unfortunately practically everyone had the same idea so there was already a queue by the time we got there to the bus stop. We managed to get on the third bus anyway which arrived shortly before six (poor people who had been queueing since half three!) and got through the gates (where walking sticks were strictly prohibited but, contrary to all
the warnings, water bottles were not) and walked up to the viewing point.
Machu Picchu at sunrise might sound very impressive but the mist covered pretty much all of the site until the sun had risen to burn away some of the cloud. Actually, ignore that, I was there and you weren't so I'm going to make you all jealous and say it was a truly spectacular and unforgettable sight! Don't get me wrong, Machu Picchu itself is but anyone would be a little brought down by a cold and tired Jack at six in the morning!
Gorgeous views over the site from the viewpoint and we had the requisite photos in front of Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu behind. Actually got a little distracted by the beautiful view of the mountains in the opposite direction whilst waiting for the mist to clear! (see panoramic shot) Headed down into Machu Picchu past the Hut of the Caretaker of the Funerary Rock (got to love the name!) and pretty much dashed through the whole site to get to Huayna Picchu. Entrance to climb Huayna Picchu has been reduced to 400 people per day so we decided to start the
climb early before the majority of tourists arrived.
I'm going to translate Huayna Picchu as it's long-used but actually incorrect meaning of 'Young Peak'. The 'picchu', with the correct glottal pronunciation, actually refers to the wad in the cheek of a coca-chewer. Not a very pleasant name and absolutely no relevance whatsoever so I think 'Young Peak' can stay as it is. It wasn't actually as bad a climb as it looks from the bottom but thanks to numerous warnings (including one printed on our tickets) of not being allowed to bring any plastic bottles into the site we didn't have any water with us so the climb was a bit rough going!
Eventually got to the top whereupon the height got to me and I decided to have a mini attack of vertigo, shaking like a leaf on top of a giant rock looking down on Machu Picchu. At least the photos don't show this!
We had fun clambering over the rocks at the top (although I didn't feel like walking to the tip of one hanging off the edge of the mountain just for the photo although please do appreciate Lou's bravery at doing this)
and through a small part of an Incan tunnel (which people were finding very hard to navigate with giant camera cases slung over their shoulders!)
Trudged back down to visit the site proper now quite worn out. Although I don't think we can really complain compared to the people who have just finished the Inca Trail! I tried to follow the Lonely Planet descriptions and started giving Lou a mini guided tour of the Ceremonial Baths only to find out we were actually in the Prisons so we gave up and tagged along with a random tour group we found (actually a very useful money-saving tip - look like you're part of the group and they never ask if you've paid or not!)
Had more photos inside the site including ones of the llamas that seem to just have been dumped in pens inside the site in order for the tourists to have photos of llamas inside Machu Picchu - I always did wonder why so many people seemed to have photos of llamas there!
We met up with Jack again who had wandered off on his own to head back into Aguas Caliente in order to
have lunch before our 2.30pm train back to Cusco. Thanks to the strikes holding up the tourist trains last week the backlog of people going to Machu Picchu meant that this was the only train we could get so we didn't even get a full day there!
Still, it was getting very busy by this point so we just headed back up to the viewing point to get sunny pictures of the site before leaving. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip despite the tourists! And amazing enough, I managed to get plenty of shots with barely any tourists in at all!)
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