Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Peru Part 2: Machu Picchu!

To get to Machu Picchu, you must go to Aguas Calientes.  To get to Aguas Calientes, you must either take a train, or hike in, as there are no cars per se in town {aside from the busses that you can take up the mountain to Machu Picchu}. 

20140407_062224 We arrived in Aguas Calientes and were greeted by a hotel representative who guided us on foot through the town to our hotel.  We then grabbed some dinner {at an amazing restaurant that had some of the best food we had in Peru, called Yanantin Grill—btw, the crinkle fries were really that big.  The Peruvians love their veggies super-sized}

20140406_203529and a few snacks and then headed to bed because we wanted to get an early start the next morning.

20140407_061228We had heard that it was best to be on the first bus of the day so that we could see the sun rise over Machu Picchu.  We had also heard that it was a good idea to take our own lunch up since, there is only one restaurant up at the top and it was pricey.  So the night before our climb, we stopped at a few shops looking for grocery items so that we could make some sandwiches or something.  We came away with 2 $6 boxes of stale granola bars and some fruit.  This is what I chose.  I can’t remember what it was called, but it kind of tasted a pear, only not as sweet.

20140406_213708 The next morning as we were waiting in line for the buses, there were a couple of shops open right by the line.  They had entire sandwiches for around $5 a piece, and if we did it again, we would just pick up a sandwich on the way.

The bus ride took about 20 minutes and as we wound up the steep switchbacks, we passed quite a few brave people who had hiked from Aguas Calientes.  Originally, that had been my plan, but I’m glad we took the bus, since we did a ton of hiking once we got to Machu Picchu, and there’s no way that we could have done both in the same day. 20140407_064822_Richtone(HDR) Guys.  Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for many years, and it did not disappoint.  It. was. amazing.


There are two peaks on either side of the ruins at Machu Picchu.  One is called Huayna Picchu, and the other is Montana.  Only limited amounts of people can visit the peaks each day, and we climbed Montana.  After seeing the sun rise over the ruins, we headed up the mountain, so that we could avoid the hottest part of the day.  Montana is quite the climb, and as mentioned in my previous post, has a bajillion stone steps.  The steps go all of the way up the mountain.


It took us about an hour and a half to two hours to near the top, and was pretty steep.  It was beautiful, though and had amazing views of the ruins. This photo included because it kind of shows you how steep the mountain is, but also because it has the Urubamba River in it.  And Urubamba {ooo-roo-bam-ba} is fun to say.  Urubamba.  Urubamba.  See?  Machu Picchu is off to your left.


There were also really cool irridescent butterflies that would kind of flop-fly down the trail above us.

20140407_100156 After climbing Montana, we had a quick lunch and then took a tour of the ruins {included in the tour pass that we purchased at the airport} and then were free to explore on our own.

20140407_12530420140407_12580720140407_10560120140407_132200Opinions vary but nobody really knows what Machu Picchu was used for.  Our tour guide told us that it might have been a place for the wealthy, and that in those times, it wasn’t money that made people wealthy, it was knowledge.  So maybe as a type of university.  Others have speculated that it was a retreat for royalty, or that it was used for religious ceremonies coordinating with solstices and equinoxes.  Nobody really knows.

20140407_134736Check out that staircase.  And there’s the Urubamba again.  Urubamba.  Urubamba.

20140407_13564720140407_141037 Visiting Machu Picchu was an amazing experience, and so, so neat. 

When we were finished, we headed back down to Aguas Calientes and did some shopping at the market there, learned to play the bamboo flute from a street vendor, and had some Peruvian pizza for dinner, before taking the train back to Cusco for the night.20140407_16403720140407_17125320140407_175352Although, if we went again, there are a few things we would do differently, we loved seeing Machu Picchu, and are so glad we went.  


ChicChat said...

Looks like an amazing adventure! When's the next one?

The Lamoreaux Family said...

Wow Kath!! Some of those pictures don't even look real!! Sign me up for the next time you go!

Andrea said...

Wow. What a wonderful thing for you to be able to do. I'm so jealous.

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