Machu Picchu

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December 11th 2011
Published: December 30th 2011
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Cuzco, or Cusco, whichever way you want to spell it was reached after an arduous bus trip, more so for Chev, who was sick for the last 3 hours of the trip. We finally reached our hostel, Loki, which over looks the city and got ourselves settled.The next day we went to the Iglesia de Santo Domingo to explore the few remains of the Incan equivalent of the Vatican, Qorikancha, which was destroyed by the Spanish; they built the church right on top of the sacred site. Chev and I hired a guide and explored the remains of the temples of the Rainbow, Lightening and Stars. The two main temples for the Sun and the Moon were totally torn up by the Spanish. We were really quiet amazed by the ingenuity of the Incan builders who didn't use mortar for their sacred buildings, but instead a system of tongue and groove to hold the stone blocks together. We also learned that the 5degree angle of the walls and the shape of the doors was to help protect against the effects of earthquakes. That night we partied at the hostel and Tom and I went out to a local bar and danced it up until 5 in the morning. Needless to say the next day was a bit of a write off but I did do some exploring of the town.The next morning Tom, Chev and I set off for Aguas Calientes. We got a ride to Ollantaytambo, where we got a bite to eat and then hoped on train to go the rest of the way to the town at the base of Machu Picchu. The train ride was cool as we could see the change in climate from the dry Andes to a cloud forest. We had a chill night that night and prepped ourselves for the 3:45 am wake up time we had planned for the next morning.We all woke up bright and early, though not so bright eyed or bushy tailed, and got ready for the hike we about to embark on up to Machu Picchu. The hike is an hour and a half straight up a mountain, much like the Grouse Grind but with much nicer views and a much hotter climate. We were all hoping to reach Machu Picchu by 6 am so we could see the sun rise over the mysterious Incan ruins. We in fact did make it, although Chev was feeling really I'll and we all were exhausted and sweaty by the time we reached the top. At one point in the climb I was all alone and was really struggling and asked out loud to myself, and the Incan spirits for a sign that I was nearing the top; not a second latter I looked up and there was the first hut of Machu Picchu and the mountain of Waynapicchu. I was so relieved!We were let into the ruins with the rests of the visitors and we were rewarded richly for all of our efforts. There in front of us, with the sun just beginning to shine on it, was Machu Picchu, in all of it's glory. We immediately started snapping as many pictures as we could without people in them and just took the whole sight in, llamas and all!The first part of our time at MP was spent on a two hour tour with a very knowledgable guide. He showed us all the sites, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Condor, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Sun dial, the main entrance gate and much more. After our tour we went to have a snack of avocado, tomatoes, cheese and crackers. Much needed after out hike and to fuel the rest of the hiking/climbing we had planned for the day. With our snack finished, Tom and I left Chev on her own, as she was not feeling 100%, and embarked on our second hike of the day, to the top of Waynapicchu. This second Incan site is next to and overlooks MP. The climb is a steep, treacherous one with crazy narrow sections and high steps, which can very slippery when wet, but is totally worth it. We arrived at he top a little winded, and me with a bit of help from Rihanna, and looked down to see MP slightly obscured by low lying clouds. We waited for a bit, a climbed a little more and the clouds parted for us and the sight was unbelievable! Tom and I took many photos and scrambled around on the top of the mountain, exploring the ruins of Incan houses, before heading back down to meet up with Chev at the House of the Guard. I wanted to have some time to take in MP on my own so after a bit of a rest I left atom and Chev and went to take some more photos and find a quiet place to reflect. I found the perfect spot, in the ruins of a house in the middle of MP, hidden by a huge boulder, with a fabulous view of the mountain valley. I sat still and quiet for 15 minutes and tried to just clear my mind. As I sat there a hummingbird landed a few feet from me and sat for about two minutes, calling out to other hummingbirds. I stayed still as possible and revealed in the closeness of nature. When I met up with the others, they had decided to take the bus back down to the bottom, as Chev was sick and Tom tired. I was feeling good and decided to walk back to Aguas Calientes and had a wonderful time by myself, enjoying the scenery and my music. We journeyed back to Cuzco and all fell into bed in and into an exhausted sleep. The next day Chev and I made arrangements to journey to Lake Titikaka.


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