Monday, March 24, 2014

Machu Picchu

We celebrated Paul's birthday with a visit and hike around Machu Picchu by taking another ride on the Peru Rail.

About an hour or so train ride

Not as fancy as the last train ride but comfortable enough

Scenery along the way

We were met by a tour guide who then brought us to the bus for a 20 minute ride up the hill. Because we were visiting during rainy season, there were less people but it still felt like a lot. I can't imagine what it's like in the summer!

Machu Picchu was discovered in 1911

It's so beautiful and almost unreal

It's hard to believe we were actually there!

On this day we visited the Inka Bridge, guardhouse and Sungate

We walked around with the tour guide first

That mountain covered by the clouds is Wayna Picchu and we have tickets to
 climb it the next day; you have to get the tickets in advance, which our tour
company, Latin America for Less, did for us.

Another amazing view


Inca doorway - sloped sides built to withstand earthquakes

Amazing architecture

Double jamb doorway

Folks can also travel here using the Inca Trail - see the white lines on the mountain? Yeah, no thanks!

Clouds are everywhere at 2,340 meters (almost 8,000 feet) above sea level!

The rocks at the top form the shape of a face

Built in the 15th century

It's still in great condition!

Lots of restoration to the site since the early 1900's 

Restoration continues

This baby llama was just born

It was trying to stand up

Another pretty view



You can clearly see Wayna Picchu here

It is actually quite steep

Altar of the Condor

Can you see the condor and its wings?

Close up of its face

We then headed up towards the Guard House

Paul is always a few steps ahead of me

Another nice view from atop

And even higher

And further away


Paul making some manly pose in celebration of his birthday

We then headed towards the Inka Bridge

About a 30 minute walk each way

Looking down is scary

See, Paul is afraid

My favorite part of this photo is Paul's hair

Finally we spot the Inka Bridge

We wanted to get a closer look

Not easy to build!

We think this was an escape route

Paul thought he saw a flower

One of my favorite shots!

After walking back from the bridge, we headed to Intipunku aka the Sun Gate

Once again, Paul is looking for me

We weren't sure what the black moss was all about so Paul went to investigate

Kitty wanted to take part in the adventure as well

We got a South African tourist who happen to live in our old neighborhood of NYC to snap a photo for us

Mystical looking - heading back down after a long day of walks

That afternoon there was a lot of rain - so much that the water was overflowing!

We walked around town to find some food

The river was gushing

Lots of water

The next morning on February 2, we headed back up to climb Wayna Picchu. You can hardly see it in the photo below since it's covered in clouds and/or fog!

Pretty cool cloud effects even though it was a little hard to see

We opted for the 2 hour trek - wasn't feeling the 4 hour version...

No view...too cloudy!

More steep steps

Um, yeah, we can't see anything!

We had to crawl through a cave to get to the view point

A bit uncomfortable for Paul...and me but more him.

Paul needed to get to his zen place

The clouds moved just enough to get a clear shot of Machu Picchu from the top

Paul was a bit afraid trying to take this photo

We got someone else to snap one but it didn't make it less scary considering how high we were

Heading back down

Amazingly steep


Paul's clown feet don't fit on the stairs


We caught a couple more good shots going down


Of course now that we finished the hike, it really started to clear up...we were at the top of that!

Leaving Machu Picchu

This llama is the Machu Pichu mascot, Pikachu 

Had some time to kill before our train back to Cusco

So went souvenir shopping. Butterflies are everywhere.

Not much bargaining here but I think I got a good deal on some stuff

The train to Cusco included a few shows

Paul was entertained


Back in Cusco there was a festival

Nice view from our hotel room

What a nice day!

The streets are narrow so we had to walk to the car to take us to the airport


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