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Published: January 12th 2011
Quietly dragging everyone out of bed at 3.30am, leaving our backpack at the reception desk with a note written in my questionable Spanish and walking down to the bus stop was not much fun (but everyone agreed later totally worth it). We arrived at 4.07am to a line of around 90 people which continued to grow (both in front and behind - I don't accept that having to do your makeup or fit into short shorts means you can join your friends in line an hour later than the rest of us, grrrr) as well as others marching by, forgoing the bus for a hike up the mountain in the dark, cold, wet morning (I reckon everyone keen enough to do this should get an automatic Huaynapichu stamp). As we had arrived in the dark it was a surprise to see a massive peak appear out of the darkness right above the town. Just before 5.30am our tickets were checked, lines began to move and we began the steep winding 1/2 hour busride .
We arrived before the gates opened and were rewarded with a stamp to climb Huaynapichu. They only let 400 people climb per day, 200 at 7-8am
and 200 at 10-11am. We chose 10am and were soon herded through the entry but as we were there so early we got a chance to explore many of the terraces and buildings before they were crowded. After an hour and a 1/2 oohing and aahing at the majesty of it all with clouds swirling around the peaks we headed back to the entrance to meet up with a guide and thought we'd be able to get some brekky but although we could smell bacon cooking there was nothing (should have bought more snacks when we were in the bus line and more water).
Our guide was part mountain goat and raced up into the middle of the site with a bewildered and breathless group trying to tag along. When he got us all together we sat on the grass in the sun by the massive wall below the guardhouse with llamas to listen to fascinating facts and figures of the site and its history. Perfect! Making our way around the site we saw sundials and temples, heard sounds echo and reverberate around rooms or across fields, felt special vibrations from sacred rocks and were generally overwhelmed with the
skill, knowledge and strength of those who created this place of farming, worship and study.
Tasha, Nic and I decided to leave the tour and get started up Huayanapichu (the mountain you usually see in the background of Machu Pichu pics) Wayne decided to continue to explore the main site. The climb was steep, cold, slippery and awesome. We took it slow as Nic was not real well, I am fat and lazy, we didn't have enough water and we had barely eaten. All the way along the track the views were beautiful - the clouds rising out of the valley over Machu Pichu, the terraces, the river below, the surrounding mountains, the "big picture" of Machu Pichu (Incan cities were built in the shape of animals - Cusco was a puma, Machu Pichu is a condor).
I hope some of the photos help explain how impressive the place is and how honoured we feel to have been able to experience it.
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