9.4.1 Machu Picchu

samfloy~25 January 2013 /Latin America/Travels

Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Peru
Friday, January 25, 2013

The city is one of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World, so along with Chitchen Itza, ended up ticking off two in the month of January.

Our day began taking the bus up from Aguas Calientes and being taken for a tour around the city by Jose. The weather was glorious, despite being wet season, so we took up opportunities to take shelter in the shade when the time allowed.

As has become custom, here are the Fun Facts:

MP Fun Fact #1: it was built during the 15th Century

MP Fun Fact #2: Nobody knows its real name, “Machu Picchu” means Old Mountain in Quechua

MP Fun Fact #3: There are many theories for its purpose including Training Camp and Holiday Resort

MP Fun Fact #4: The city was deserted when the Spanish came to Peru, but the Spaniards never found it

MP Fun Fact #5: It was discovered by Hawaiian, Hiram Bingham in 1911. He came back a few years after with a photographer from the National Geographic society

MP Fun Fact #6: The first tour guide was a 10 year old boy who was living nearby

MP Fun Fact #7: A train that runs through the Sacred Valley was initially for transporting fruit. After a mudslide, a private enterprise reopened the railway to transport tourists to the site

MP Fun Fact #8: Like the Mayans, the Incas used the solstices to mark the dates in the year. They also believed in 3 worlds (Snake, Puma and Condor (big bird))

MP Fun Fact #9: Incan society was not based on money, but cooperation and exchange of time and skills

MP Fun Fact #10: The only entrance to MP is through the Sun Gate, the only exit is via the Inca Bridge (see photo)

MP Fun Fact #11: The population (calculated by possible water consumption in the area) is estimated to have been around 500

Our tour took us around some interesting monuments, structures, and buildings which in some ways only highlighted how little archaeologists actually know about the place. A lot seemed to be based on conjecture, made all the more difficult as the Incans didn’t write anything down…

It was then free time to rack up some potential DPPs, and explore the city some more. About a twenty minute walk up the valley, and we reached the precarious Inca Bridge.

Along the way there were some stunning views of the mountains, and it was reassuring to see that the passage was cordened off, to save any foolish tourists stumbling across it.

Then it was then one last stop to get some pictures (after a three day journey, we decided it was OK to) and back on the bus to wind down in the town.

The train to Ollantaytambo was actually pretty impressive, and once on the minibus, there were several attempts to get some shut-eye.

Back in Cusco, it was a case of dumping bags, getting a shower, going for dinner (a 3 Soles beauty) and then meeting up for some drinks and hitting the town.

“The” PP. Perhaps…
Inca Bridge out of MP
Jose explaining equinoxes