4.08.2015

A "Wonder"-Ful Adventure

The taxi to Ollantaytambo picked us up from our hotel in Urubamba around 12:30 pm and dropped us off in plenty of time to catch our train to Machu Picchu.  It was a quick 1.5 hour ride to Aguas Caliente, where we were met with our first REAL bout of rain.  But weather be damned, we weren’t going to miss this opportunity of a lifetime, so once we checked into our overpriced and underwhelming hotel, we were off to purchase our tickets for the next day. 

Aguas Caliente is a small town at the bottom of the valley next to Machu Picchu, and the principal access point to the site.  Despite its magnificent setting, it’s not the most pleasant town, and after walking around for 20 minutes, we saw pretty much everything it had to offer.


The bus stopped in front our hotel at 10:10 am the next morning to transport us up to Machu Picchu.  The twenty minute ride zig-zagged up the middle of the cloud forest on a dirt road with no guard rails.  It. Was. Scary.  When we exited the bus we were immediately bombarded with tour guides, who spoke a myriad of languages, at the ready to take us around.  We hired the first one who spoke English.

Nothing quite prepares you for the jaw dropping views when you first walk through the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.  The serenity of the site situated at an altitude of 8000 feet is humbling as the only sounds you hear are those of the tourists around you and the rushing waters of the rivers below.


While the history of the Incas and Machu Picchu is long, the short version of how it was discovered is that while searching for another Inca refuge in 1911, Hiram Bingham, an American historican and lecturer at Yale University, was led up to Machu Picchu by a local 11 year-old Quechuas boy.  Since the Inca capital was never found or plundered by the Spanish, over the centuries the surrounding jungle grew over much of the site, and few knew of its existence. 


We spent 2 hours with the guide and another hour touring on our own, even climbing to the highest point at this site.  However, both time and agility prevented us from trekking up the two additional trails to Huchuy Picchu or to Huayna Picchu (aptly pronounced whine-a-picchu or wine-a-picchu for those who know me well). 
Every good thing must come to an end, and after almost 4 hours, it was time to descend the mountain (with our eyes closed, of course). We grabbed a quick lunch in Aguas Caliente before boarding our train back to Cusco, where we then enjoyed the bi-modal service of a 1.5 hour train ride followed up with a 1 hr 45 minute BUS ride. 

Our flight from Cusco left early the next day, and after a taxi ride to the airport, 3 planes, a 4-hour layover in Panama and an hour ride back to our house once we arrived at midnight in El Salvador,   We.  Were.  Done.  

Peru was an amazing adventure, but frankly, there's no place like home.

1 comment:

Tressa Westerhold said...

Your babies are so blessed! - What an adventure! <3 - Glad to see your are doing so well.

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