Monday, September 27, 2010

Machu Picchu: Awe & Beauty after a 5 Day Feat

Perhaps the prayers to the mountain gods and Weeragocha worked, because we were blessed with the best weather possible at 6 am Sunday morning. Leaving at 3:30 am to climb 1874 Inca steep steps in pitch black, flashlight aided darkness was the best idea the guides had. Had it been light, we may have turned around, seeing the huge rocks to climb in front of us. Carrying 8 litres of water on my back and a few snacks (water atop Machu Picchu is $8 a bottle; the same San Luis bottle costs $0.30 at the bottom) made for an arduous climb, taking me 42 minutes rather than the 31 it took everyone else. We got our stamps for Wayna Picchu, the "small" mountain at the top of Machu Picchu, a handful of only 400 people per day that are allowed to climb. Although only an hour and a half round trip, Wayna Picchu was like climbing a mountain with no steps, straight up, in blistering heat.

Rene and Jose Luis made amazing guides, taking us through the rooms and rooms of the ruins, explaining the main temples, uses for the Inca ruins and cultural tidbits like the "demo" carving University of Cuzco students placed on the ruins, which many guides claim is a real Inca ruin (it's not). We also saw the rock that chipped for cerveza, beer, when a local company had permission to film on the ruins, but dropped a camera equipment bag onto the rock and chipped it.

After the tour, Stephanie and I spent the next four hours touring the ruins, guessing which rooms belonged to who in the Inca city, finding the tiny rooms that were likely meant for children. It was really like we were there, transformed into Inca people for a moment, breathing in the air. As my battery charger was left in the hostel in Cuzco(argh!) we had to carefully select our poses. I was impressed though, by the 5 day length of my Canon Rebel T1i's lithium battery. So, here is a slideshow of the best pictures I can take. Breathtaking beauty - the pictures will have to do the rest of the talking; words escape me!

Facebook users, click here to view the slideshow- it's worth the click!!

We spent the night in Agules Calientes with our newfound friends, scoffing at the touristy town whose inhabitants try to scam you for money with no service (Stephanie and I walked away from breakfast the next morning, leaving a few soles on the table). Tomorrow is a travel day and we'll enjoy a few last days in Peru's capital city.

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