Machu Pichu

Machu Pichu at last!

Finally, we got to Machu Pichu! But getting there was an adventure itself. Getting to Machu Pichu is not as easy at it sounds. It is located about 80km (50 miles) northwest of Cuzco in the middle of the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 2,350 metres (7,710 feet). Currently there are just three ways to go there. You can hike the Inca Trail. You can take the train. Or you can take a helicopter. The first option was out, since even though I would've liked to hike, it takes 3 days to do it and we didn't have the time. So the second option was to get to Ollantaytambo by bus, and then take the train to Machu Pichu (actually the town is known as Aguas Calientes). The problem was that just when we were about to fly to Cuzco, the railroad workers went on strike. So no train. And even tough the day we went to Machu Pichu the train restarted opearting, we were not sure of the service reliability. Besides it takes from 4 to 5 hours each way, staring at 5am!!. The decision was made: we go in style, we take the chopper!

Then we wake up at 6:00am, and after a taxi drive, a two hour wait, 25 minutes on the helicopter, a short hike, a bus ride, and another short hike, finally we were able to see Machu Pichu!

Once there, we explored and visited all the ruins. Since it's at a lower altitude than Cuzco, we were feeling great and with lots of energy... well at least my self.

So we explored the city, took pictures, read about it, etc. We did all the things tourist typically do at archeological sites. But then we realize that this place is slightly different. It's not that crawded and there is no army of people selling you stuff (if you've ever been to Teotihuacan you know what I mean). But not only that, looking around we see people are laying on the grass, relaxing, and maybe reading a book. Quite cool! So we found a great place and just enjoy the view. We even (pretended to) meditate!

In fact, Saravjit meditation skills catched the attention of the rest of the tourist in Machupichu resulting in a photography session. See Saravjit meditating by clicking either here or on the image.

After a while I returned to the exploration. So I climbed the Huayna Pichu... that rock behind Machu Pichu... the mountain that you see on the background of the Machu Pichu pictures. The path you must follow is the last part of the Inca Trail. So at least I walk a little of the Trail. It wasn't a long hike, but it was challenging. The guide says that it usually takes you about one hour and a half to climb it, but if you ask the guard at the entrance point (you must register), he can give you a personal estimate. When I asked him, he just looked at me and said, "45 minutes... no wait... 30 minutes".

After some 28 minutes of a very intense hike, almost at the top, the trail goes into the mountain. After dragging myself through a narrow cave, finally, the summit's at sight!

Finally, I was at the top! I looked at my watch, and it was 30 minutes exactly! That guy at the entrance was quite accurate! But all that effort was worthy. The view from the summit was great!

In the mean time Erwin and Rav decided to just hang out and pose for the tourists.