We left Ollantaytambo on the PeruRail train for Aguas Calientes, the staging city for Machu Picchu. The town’s only purpose is to deal with the tourists heading to the old site. It doesn’t have a lot of charm, although it is nice that the only motorized vehicles are the busses that run up to the Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is a place that Chris has always wanted to visit. She’s intrigued by the old, indigenous cultures. Me, I just wanted to get the damn thing off my bucket list.
We bought our tickets to Machu Picchu and Huayna (or Wayna) Picchu in Cuzco. They only let 2,500 people a day enter Machu Picchu. Huayna Picchu is the mountain peak that you see in the quintessential pictures, rising up behind Machu Picchu. One side is the Temple of the Sun and the other is the Temple of the Moon. The hike up to Huayna Picchu is limited to 200 people at a time (twice a day). The hike is pretty much straight up. At the top of the mountain is supposed to be the residence for the high priest and the local virgins. We only saw shear cliffs and tired hikers. The hike up was in the rain. It took us an hour and forty minutes to the top. We didn’t get a lot of pics going up because both our Canon and Meghan’s Canon succumbed to the rain washing. Tyler’s cell phone camera was the only one that made it fully functioning to the top.
Staring out along the Machu Picchu walls in the rain.
Meghan and Tyler trying to add some color to the photos with their rain gear.
Huayna in the clouds behind Machu Picchu. Trust me, it is lot taller than it looks, and you go down before proceeding up.
The view down onto Machu Picchu from the top of Huayna. It would be a long, straight trip down, if you slipped on the trails. The trails are mostly setup for personal responsibility mode, i.e. no hand rails or signs telling you should be careful.
Temple of the Sun, sans sun
Hiding from the rain while desecrating the temple.
Drying the cameras out after the hike back down from Huayna after the sun came out. A 1/2 hour in the sun and the trusty Canons came back to life.
Panoramic of Machu Picchu with Meghan and Chris gazing into the void (on the right- click to biggerate).
Looking at Huayna Picchu in the sun from the starting gate
The Andes are incredibly rugged mountains. Pics just don’t do them justice.
Looking a few thousand feet down to the river valley from Machu Picchu.
The well bonded hikers in a self-portrait: Paul, Chris, Meghan and Tyler
High altitude mountain flowers
A sleepy chinchilla
If you blow this pic up you will see the little, tiny people who are walking among the ruins.
We were all dragging a bit by the time we got to this spot. Then we saw the llamas at the very top, center – enough inspiration to carry on.
Llama making sure she is in the pic.
It is really hard work being a tourist. Its nice to be back on the boat with the normal list of things that need fixing.