Thursday, September 2, 2010

Machu Picchu

This morning we all got up at 3:40am for a quick breakfast and then got in line. There is a checkpoint we had to go through at 5am and then just two hours on to Machu Picchu!

As the sky started to lighten we saw that the sky was clear! We were all so happy and it put us in high spirits.
Just a little more crazy stairs before the end.

We got to the sun gate and got our first view of Machu Picchu. Stunning of course.

Here's the whole crew. We all made it! We got to sit here for a while and watch the sun come down onto the ruins.

We were still totally stoked that the sun was out! This also meant that there were mosquitos.....whatever....I'll take the sun any day.

As we got down to the ruins there were all these llamas everywhere.

The closer we got the more incredible it got. From the pictures I have seen it doesn't look so massive.

The llamas here reminded me a lot of the squirrels in our national parks. They could have cared less about us being there.

Once we got into the park Bryan gave us a tour of the ruins. Not the greatest tour guide, but I did some wikipedia research and found out that it was built in the 1400's as an estate for the emperor Pachacuti ( remind you of a Disney movie????)

This is the temple of the sun, one of their principle temples in the ruins. We thought it was pretty interesting that it was built on this huge foundational stone.

There were all these cool channels in the rock where the water would collect and then run off the mountain in a little waterfall.

Those Incans were crazy about stairs!!!

This is inside one of the main residences. The walls would be built of rock with a thatched roof tied on top.

This is inside the temple of the stars. There was no roof on this temple originally and they believe that they used these two pools of water to observe the reflection of the stars.

These are the faces of a few happy ladies. Look at that sky!!!!

This really doesn't do it justice at all, but the view from Machu Picchu is so stunning! The mountains are so green and dramatic. Nice pick Pacha.

So many of the things we saw there showed how the Incans were very aware of astrology. This stone was used as some kind of a compass. It points directly to the north.

Another cool thing about this place is that there are very few places where any cement is used in between the stones. Most of the walls, like this one, are just stones that are perfectly cut to fit together.

This stone is at the very top of the ruins. I was a stone that was used to get rid of negative energy and give you good energy when you touch it. It is also interesting that the top of it is this gradual circular incline.

This is where our tour came to an end. What a great group of people!!!! What a great time! I will honestly miss these people.

Once our big group was dispersed a few of us hiked up to the guardhouse overlooking the ruins. Such a classic view!

We didn't have anywhere to be particularly, our train didn't leave until 7pm so we had time to explore the ruins a little more.

All in all we had a really fantastic time exploring. We took the bus down to the city on the river far below after that, Aguas Calientes.

Our first order of business was to find some food. I figured this wouldn't be so hard so we started walking, about 8 of us and looked at a couple menus and soon people started to see 8 of us walking down the street and all of a sudden there were 20 people standing outside their restaurant waving at us to come to their restaurant. Super intense, so I asked a bus driver for a recommendation and we ended up here. So great! We had some classic Peruvian food and some pizza and no soup or tea. Perfect!

In the main square of town there is this huge statue. I swear it is Samuel the Lamanite or something. We spent the afternoon wandering around town and sitting in town square enjoying a break for our tired legs. Very nice relaxing afternoon.

That night we boarded the train that would take us in 1.5 hours the entire length of the trail we had spent 4 days hiking....much easier on the way back.

Once we got back to the city where we had started the trail we had to get in a big van to make the windey drive back to Cuzco. One last Inca trail family photo before we parted ways. About day two I was cursing the whole trail, but by the end it turned out to be a fantastic time.


Katherine said...

SO amazing! It's crazy being in a place that existed in such a foreign time. You're rugged!

Fiagle Family said...

Glad you got some good weather. How amazing to see all the ruins. The history is such a neat thing when we hadly have anything older then 50 years still around.

Stephanie said...

I'm so happy you guys did the trail! Your pictures bring back so many good memories I had while being down there. Looks like you had an amazing adventure, I'm so happy!