Machu Picchu

As soon as we checked into our hotel in Aguas Calientes, we headed for the bus up to Machu Picchu. The ride up there would leave many with a woozy stomach regardless of the altitude. The buses fly up this one lane dirt road that gives new meaning to the word curvy. You only get a quick view of the area on the way up so, you are really still waiting for the big reveal when you get up there, and when you get off the bus you still have to wait. You can't see the real site until you go through the gates and around the corner or hike up some stairs. Hiking up is the best way since when you come out of the humid rain forest like vegetation you have a true big reveal and the most famous view of the site. It is truly awe-inspiring, which is no small comment from someone who has been to Egypt.

After gawking for a few minutes, I started in on the pictures. Our rented guide from the site, who I didn't care for at all was trying to push us along, but I made a point of hanging back throughout the rest of the day. No one, not even a pushy guide and security was going to ruin it for me. It started to rain shortly after we arrived and we had the opportunity to see how fast weather changes up there. We had rain, sun, rainbows, fog, and a touch of wind, all in the course of our short afternoon there.

We went to all of the major sites around the city, but one kept catching my eye and for lack of a better term, distracting me, Huayna or Wayna Picchu, which means young mountain. Machu Picchu being old mountain. From the moment I walked in I wanted to hike it. I would later find out that I would not be able to on this trip to my great disappointment. They only allow 200 people up a day and you have to arrived when Machu Picchu opens to get here and wait at the gate for them to let you in. Another thing on the list for a return trip.

The city complex is expansive and they now believe that it was used as a royal retreat and was also used for religious purposes. It is not that hard to imagine it being as a religious place with all of the grandeur of the natural tropical and mountainous landscape surrounding it. A great place to meditate, and perform ceremonies for sure. There is an energy up there that cannot be described and you feel closer to yourself in some indescribable way. About half way through the sort of tour we were receiving, I was hanging back far enough that I wasn't hearing much of it. I liked it that way, I was more able to experience it for myself despite being in a group. One of our normal leaders Julia thankfully hung back with me and waived off the guide when he was trying to rush me along. I was so greatful to her that.

In the course of this afternoon, I saw two amazing rainbows, a thunderstorm, rain, clouds and sun. But that is nothing compared to what I felt being up there. It can never be put into words. Each temple and location left me with a different feeling and emotion.

We were lucky enough to be able to go back the following day for sunrise. Well I guess I shouldn't say sunrise because we never actually saw the sun, but it was sunrise time and we had to get up at 330AM to get the bus up there. Who knew so many people would want to go up to Machu Picchu for sunrise. On the way up we saw even more people hiking up the extensive staircase up to the top. It was even more packed than the afternoon before when we got up to the top. I couldn't believe it. Instead of hiking back up to the spot we had the day before, we hung a right and went across the city to an area of the terraces. A thick fog covered everything and even though the mountains and Huayna Picchu in particular were so close, you couldn't even see a shadow of a mountain. As we did our sunrise ceremony and chat that all changed of course. The fog started to light and fly up the side of the mountains. Quite a sight. We were granted a couple of hours of free time. We became the happy wanders and walked around aimlessly for a bit taking photos and then spent a lot of time trying to find a temple we had been in the previous day. Right when our time was almost up we came across it. I was thrilled. Huayna Picchu eluded me but, I will climb it next time. I won't be able to stay away long.