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Published: February 19th 2009
On top of the World
Alpacca munch on grass while people from all over the globe make a magical pilgrimage to a wonder of the world
There are many blogs on this site about Machu Picchu. I should know, I read plenty of them last summer when researching about upcoming travel. Sometimes, when you see photos of a wonder of the world, you think ´nice, but it can´t be that nice when you get there´. Not so about Machu Picchu. I felt estactic when I boarded the train in Ollantaytambo and headed towards the Machu Picchu town. There were a few snags about hotels which didn´t bug me too much because I knew I would be on top of the world later.
Tickets into the site and for the bus up the mountain are pricey, but worth every penny.
This is low tourist season for Peru, yet the bus was full. When you walk along the ruins you can hear many languages from around the world. Everybody is very impressed, or so it seems from their smiles and exclamations.
The air is thin up there. I tried to walk uphill to the guard house to get that famous photo and I had to stop and sit many times. My heart was pounding and I was gasping for air if I took too many steps upward. I was
beginning to think that I must have heart problems, especially when the tour group of retired Japanese walked past me. Luckily I met other people who were equally winded when they got to the guard house.
There are no words to describe how it feels looking down on Machu Picchu settlement and the mountains that surround it. I took picture after picture marveling at the beauty. When I got there, the sun was blistering hot. A couple of hours later, white clouds crawled over the mountain peaks, giving a new light, new perspective of the same famous shot. I took more pictures, awed at how the scenery changes with different light. Clouds gave it more texture and mood. I was fascinated by the white clouds that slowly moved in slowly and eventually bringing rain.
I spent most of my time on the hill that overlooks that famous view. I went to the Inca bridge, a very scary walk along a narrow Inca trail. It has rained hard during the night, and mud on the rocks was slippery. The trail often has no wall, so there was absolutely nothing to keep you from sliding down the ravine, if your feet
I did it! I am at MachuPicchu. Mindblowing!
slipped the wrong way. Scarey....I didn´t know that I was nervous of heights...or was it my continual pounding heart when I exerted myself up there that increased my paranoia? I was alone on the trail, and I could imagine that it was exactly the same hundreds of years ago. I hope the photos capture the sheer edge and height of path.
When I returned from the bridge, the alpaccas were on the slopes to the delight of visiters with cameras ready. I chatted with a guy from Kalona, B.C. for awhile. How amazing it was to be there.
The clouds were threatening rain when I decended into the settlement area. Rain began slowly, then picked up into a torrent. By this time I was on the edge of the village where thatched buildings stood, maybe for to protect tourists from the rain? I found myself in a large hut with people from Japan, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia and England. No one complained.
When the rained eased up, I continued through the maze of rooms, or what is left of them. The water drains were working; eery, as if someone hit a switch and some of the Inca engineering came
I was slow to go down here. I preferred to stand on hill and gaze down in awe
back to life.
Time seemed to stop up there. I think I arrived late in the morning, and it was early afternoon when I started to leave, yet it felt as if I had been there all day. I say this in a good way, the stone ruins stand as testimony to a great civilization and perhaps the imagination and power of humans today.
This blog will have to be part 1 of several. The sun is shining and it is time to explore Inca ruins here at Ollantaytambo.
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