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Old 01-30-2013, 04:04 PM   #33
huzar OP
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Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Monday, January 21, 2013 Machu Picchu

We wake up this morning at 4:30 am to the sound of rain. Crap. So much for going up early to enjoy the sunrise. We sleep for another hour, wake up again to more rain. And again. And again. By 7:30 we decide to wake up and start the day, hoping that the rain will stop soon. And it does. The clouds and mists still linger on the mountain tops, however.

We realize that we’re probably going to have to spend another night in Aguas Calientes as a result of our weather-delayed start, as Hewby wanted to spend a good few hours up there. We check out a few hostels, but none sound thrilling, so we finally head up to the Sanctuario around 9, catching the first bus out of town.

Woman outside the Mercado de Abastos:

IMG_2578 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The town, viewed from the base of the ruins:

IMG_2581 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

When we get there, the clouds are lifting a bit. Wayna Picchu is visible. We get a guide, Jose, who takes us on a two+ hour tour around the entire city. The guide was not cheap at 150 soles, but knowledgeable and I thought he did a good job. The tour took us all over, starting at the viewing point that is in all of the photos of the ruins, through the Inka’s palace, the Temple of the Sun and the Temple to Pachemama underneath it, the Observatorio, many houses, the main plaza – pretty much everywhere. We did not go to Wayna Picchu as it has a quota, and tickets sold out a week in advance. The ruins are very interesting, and well-preserved.

Low-hanging clouds:

IMG_2582 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The walls of the city:

IMG_2583 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The famous view of the ruins:

IMG_2585 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

And once more, this time with us (well, me) spoiling the picture:

IMG_2589 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Guard house/observation post outside the city walls:

IMG_2594 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

And a great view of the city from the guard house:

IMG_2597 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

All this work went into these terraces, and the city was only occupied for about 70 years:

IMG_2599 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The entrance gate into the city, viewed from the inside. The protrusion above the door, and the recesses on either side of it, were used as part of a hinge and locking system:

IMG_2602 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The letters and numbers on these stones mean they have been reassembled during reconstruction:

IMG_2605 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Terraces everywhere:

IMG_2606 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Marks from the hematite chisels used to split the boulders. They look like piton scars to me:

IMG_2609 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Some of the rocks used in the walls had protrusions for anchoring the roof:

IMG_2611 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

A holder for a torch:

IMG_2613 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Chinchilla:

IMG_2618 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Even more terraces:

IMG_2619 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The temple of the sun above, and the temple to Pachimama in the cavern below. Notice how the sun temple incorporates existing rock formations in its construction:

IMG_2621 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Close-up of the temple to Pachimama:

IMG_2622 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Transition on a wall, from temple to housing for nobility. On the left, the finer, more precisely shaped and fitted stone of the temple. On the right, the rougher stone used for housing:

IMG_2633 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

These narrow terraces were not used for farming, but merely for hillside stabilization:

IMG_2638 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Unfinished construction:

IMG_2641 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

They use llamas for groundskeeping:

IMG_2649 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The temple of the condor. The wings are on either side, and the head is the pointy boulder on the ground:

IMG_2657 by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

A little before noon, just as the tour is wrapping up, I notice that clouds are starting to move in, and gray curtains of rain are beginning to obscure adjacent peaks. I do the math, and come to the conclusion that it might just be possible to catch the bus back to town, hustle, and catch the 12:35 train back down to Santa Teresa. The clouds don’t look like they have any intention of departing soon, so I don’t think anything will come of Hewby’s plans to linger longer. We head down, and are in town with 10 minutes to spare. I go to the station to buy tickets, Hewby runs back to our hostel to grab our other bag.

At the station I am told that this is a local station, and I am not a local, so I have to go to the main station. It takes a while to find, and when I finally do find it, there’s a long line of people to one window, and the world’s slowest ticket seller servicing it. I kid you not, 10-15 minutes per person. Eventually we find out there are no more tickets for today. I’m frustrated, and ready to walk 20km down the hill back to Hidroelectrica, just to get out of here. Hewby eventually agrees. As we’re walking out, we hear someone calling our names – it’s Bryce and Mike again. They’re in a hostel one more night, with actual, working hot water and wifi. We decide to stay one more night as well, and take the 6:44am train the next day.

Instead of going out to the overpriced restaurants of Aguas Calientes once again, we go to the Mercado de Abastos. First we have some tasty sopa de fideo while we chat with the old lady who runs the stall. Then we find a Jugeria, where we split a jugo especial. And for dessert, we have some tasty arroz con leche, which Hewby had spied on the way in to the market. Aguas Calientes does not have to be expensive.

huzar screwed with this post 01-30-2013 at 04:24 PM
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