Machu Picchu

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December 7th 2010
Published: December 8th 2010
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Day 5. Leaving Urubamba and heading to Machu Picchu. We awoke at 5:45am and headed for breakfast prior to catching our train. A little behind schedule as we were looking for Lindsay's IPOD- but we were not successful. One last meal of carbs galore for the kids- a variety of breads and danishes, juice and to top it off french toast. Sean and I opted for the usual omelette and bacon....or sometimes hot dogs? which we think were breakfast sausages- I think they were parts of the Lama though 😊 and then the mad dash to check out.
We were able to board the train outside the hotel....not a normal stop but it was fun, they just dropped down some stairs for us and on we got. The train ride to Machu Picchu was about 2 hours and went through the mountains and along the Sacred Valley River. The views were picturesque while the train chugged along at a very slow pace. The train had windows on the ceiling as well so we were sure to see everything around us. Some mountains were snow topped while the others had visible trails and various cities along them. Lots of bulls, horses and pigs along the river front and waterfalls and rocks galore.
Upon arrival at Machu Picchu station we disembarked and were greeted by the hotel staff. We had to wonder through the street vendors along a cobble stone walkway, over a bridge before stumbling upon our hotel -INKATERRA Macu Picchu Peublo hotel. The staff members lugged our bags for us along the roads and up the stairs to the hotel. This was well worth the tip- that was for sure. The hotel grounds were spectacular and there were birds and butterflies all around. We checked in early and decided that today was the day to visit Machu Picchu as the weather was sunny and clear.
We quickly changed in the rooms (which again were beyond our expectations). We had 2 rooms and decided that we would split up and so Sean and the 2 older girls shared a room, while Hayden, Sarah and I set up our party room!
We took a walk back to the town center and purchased our entrance tickets and bus fare. The bus ride was an adventure in itself. 20 minutes of winding narrow roads up a mountain side..literally! The cliffs were so close and steep that it was hard to look out the window, especially when there was an oncoming bus and they had to squeeze by each other. Hayden was particularly scared but we told him these guys were professionals and do this several times a day. It was hard not to think how many accidents may have gone unnanounced. Once at the top we took a deep breath of relief and went on the adventure of Machu Picchu.
WOW is all I can say. Spectacular and pure amazement. It truly is remarkable how this could still exist and how someone could have ventured up these mountains and make this city. We climbed many stairs and searched out the secret passageways all awhile taking in the beauty of the surrounding mountain sides and deep valleys below. We probably took 100s of pictures but will try and give you a view of the best ones here. Haden and Sarah had no fear and had to be told by us several times to slow down and walk. The stairs were so steep sometimes I could just see them flying over the edge down the mountainside. It was like a labarynth at times and we had fun trying to find each other. We saw some lizards, more lamas or Alpacas and a few chinchillas in the rocks. Lindsay, Hayden and Sean had some fun with the GillyGaloo birds..while Sarah, Julia and I tried to avoid the bugs that were nibbling at our legs (sand flies and or mosquitos). There were 2 particular rocks we discovered that were cool. Seeing as we didnt have a guide we tried to listen to others to find out the details but my spanish was not that good. The first rock the best- if you crouched down and looked at it straight on you could see it resembled the exact shape of the mounains behind it. Then a second rock we came upon was blocked off but people were taking pictures of themselves pretending to touch it. I thought maybe it had healing powers or heat coming from it but I dont think that was it. Anyways, we too took the pictures and moved on. If ever you get the chance to come to Peru, despite the scary bus ride and expensive food and toilets (we had to pay 1 soles each to use the bathroom) are all worth it as it truly is a once in a lifetime sight to see. After 3 hours and the threat of a thunder storm approaching we decided we would head back to the hotel and get ready for dinner and maybe a hot tub. The bus ride down was smoother than the way up and we arrived safe. I did see one cross on the mountain along the road way though. I cant imagine being one of the hikers who do the 4 day trek up to Machu Picchu. It must be so hard climbing especially with the change in elevation if you are not use to it.
Back to the hotel to got ready for dinner and a cocktail for happy hour. Pisco sours for Sean and I and the kids all had lemonaide. Pisco is a local drink that is made from grapes. These grapes are not used for wine as they are too concentrated. So they use them for this very strong alcohol called Pisco (which come in different varieties). To me it taste more like Tequila and you definately couldnt have too many of these or you would be tanked ! Harrington and Howe would love these!
Dinner was different but tasty. Kids had choice from only the main menu and I have to say they have been extremely good with trying new things (except Guinea pig). We had several different appetizers (Lindsay ate some raw salmon, Sarah tried a trout mousse, Julia devoured her fish cakes) and the main meals were just as satisfying. Lots of meat with flavourful sauces. This hotel is more Paleo than the last..yes they still serve more bread than needed - which the kids have been taking advantage of, but they serve plantain chips, sweet potato chips and lots and lots of yum!
Hot tub was getting re filled so we heading to the rooms for bed!

Additional photos below
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The Intihuatana StoneThe Intihuatana Stone
The Intihuatana Stone

The Intihuatana Stone

8th December 2010

machu picchu
Really enjoyed your blog I think its fantastic you took 4 kids there! One day our family will go to my dream of a place- look forward to more of the same! Regards, Mrs Munkey.
8th December 2010

ends of the earth!
I had a dream about you guys lastnight. You were home and had had a fantastic trip. It appears that you are at the ends of the earth! Thanks for the has been great!
8th December 2010

The stone that you didn't know about is referred to as the Hitching post of the sun. We had a little guide book with us when we were there. Machu Picchu is one of my favourite places on earth! Here is some info from a web site on the hitching post: has been shown to be a precise indicator of the date of the two equinoxes and other significant celestial periods. The Intihuatana (also called the Saywa or Sukhanka stone) is designed to hitch the sun at the two equinoxes, not at the solstice (as is stated in some tourist literature and new-age books). At midday on March 21st and September 21st, the sun stands almost directly above the pillar, creating no shadow at all. At this precise moment the sun "sits with all his might upon the pillar" and is for a moment "tied" to the rock. Pretty cool! What a nice clear day you had there and it looks like you were not crowded! Looking forward to the next post :)
11th December 2010

sounds unbelievably awesome. the pics are great. Nigel is trying not to puke right now from a filthy fifty he just finished at work so I can't imagine doing one with that altitude. I'm just starting to walk again (a week later) from one of Paul's wods. he is really great, might have to get sitters to do some evening classes!! your entries are great to read. have a great time. Jer

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