Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Machu Picchu

At the end of our hike to Choquequirao in Peru, I'd tacked on a day trip to Machu Picchu. Of course we were going to visit the site since we were in the area, it's world famous and seemingly on everyone's bucket list. It has hundreds of tourists, a sharp contrast to the quiet, stunning beauty of Choquequirao. It was still an incredible experience though.

We'd awoken early to get the sunrise but were foiled by cloud cover.

It's still an amazing place. Aside from the iconic photo, there is a bit to see and you can do lots of wandering on your own.

You're perched on a cliffside. You can hike here over days on the Inca Trail, hike up from Aguas Calientes on paved steps, or opt out of any effort and catch a shuttle bus.

The terraces are gorgeous, and steep...

It's pretty incredible to walk in these footsteps, first made so long ago and since traversed by so many.

The llamas like it too.

You can find quiet corners where one can relax.

If you reserve early, you can use a rope to do a strenuous climb up the last steep mountainside. After everything we'd planned, I just didn't have it in me to plan something else, and we skipped it.

But above it the entrance to the Wayna Picchu climb.

Everywhere you go in the world, you'll find tourists taking photos with ipads or even laptops.

After a full day, we headed back down to town.

Machu Picchu sits near the town of Aguas Calientes, essentially there to serve the tourist industry. It's not a bad place though, and we still had fun strolling around town after soaking in the local color.

In the late afternoon we were headed onto the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytanbo where we were to be met by a driver who was going to shuttle us back to Cuzco.

The train stop is pretty neat and the train itself was very nice, complete with glass tops and even entertainment...  They were also selling stuff but it was cute.

There were some great views...

The local kids like to watch the train pass.

Back in Cuzco, we had only a night before it was time to go back to Lima, and then back home... lots of movement on this trip by foot, car, train, and plane.
This was one trip that left me saying "I need a vacation from my vacation"
and I LOVED it. See the other parts of our trip here:

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