Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Part 2: Setting Foot in The Lost City, Machu Picchu Revealed

Continued from Part 1: Our Journey to Machu Picchu: Biking, Trekking, Climbing

Day 4

Waking up at 4:00am is not usually on my to-do list, but for our visit to Machu Picchu, it was a "must-do" in hopes of seeing the sunrise and arriving at The Lost City as it opened. By 4:30 we were walking from our hostel towards Machu Picchu. About 30 minutes outside of town we found the check-in booth where we had to show our passports to the guards before walking through the gate. Then, it was time to climb. Almost 2,000 steps. Not an easy task after trekking a full day and climbing a mountain the previous day. There was some minor complaining along the way, as legs got tired, stomachs got hungry, and sweat soaked through clothes. But as we got closer to the top we were expectant of the amazing place that awaited us and it got easier. Especially as the sun rose and the few clouds around the mountain tops turned pink.
Smiling through the pain because the scenery was amazing 
and we were getting close to the top!

About an hour after we began our hike up the steps we arrived at the gate. (Machu Picchu is still just an image in your mind at this point, nothing can be seen until after you show your passport (again) and pass through the gate.) We met up with our guide and began to walk forward, towards a place we've only seen in photos, yet dreamed about. Suddenly we were inside, and there it was: The Lost City, found. The energy of the place was amazing, especially at 6:30 in the morning. My eyes were searching, scanning, hungrily trying to take in everything around me, but it was impossible, overwhelming. Instead I tried to simultaneously focus on our knowledgeable guide and the awe-inspiring sights as we walked through them.

One of my favorite shots, "con llama "
After our two hour tour of the ruins, we had some time to explore some more and then relax before our scheduled time to hike up Waynupicchu Mountain. We found a sort of secluded spot climbing over some rocks to get a nice view of the ancient city around us. This was a great time to soak up the energy and magic of the place and try to take it all in.

Just after 10:00am we walked over to an unexpected queue which we had to wait in for 20-30 minutes before we were allowed to hike up Waynapicchu with the other 198 people who purchased a ticket for that time. It was a relatively difficult hike, but not as intense as our hike up Putucusi the day before. The biggest difficulty was the many other people around, especially at the top. To get to the very top for the best views and to be among the Inca terraces located on this mountain, it was necessary to climb up (and then back down) very narrow stairs (which you can see on the left hand side of the photo below).

Looking down from the top, see the narrow stairs on the left
View of Machu Picchu from the top of Waynapicchu 
After our hike up and back down Waynapicchu we took more time to explore the beautiful ancient city and soak up its energy. Here are a few more of my favorite pics!

Us in front of the classic Machu Picchu photo spot

It was an incredible day - magical, mystical and gorgeous. (And yes, exhausting - we took the bus back down the mountain!)

Check out our Shutterfly page for more pics (we are adding them slowly each day)!

1 comment: