Thursday, January 23, 2014

The one I had been waiting for: Machu Picchu Day Two

So the day had arrived, the one that been awaited with great expectation and lo and behold, I was feeling like someone had been stamping on my lungs the entire night. The realisation that 2000 steps stood between me and Machu Picchu was not an enticing one. But still, the end prize was all to play for, so it was out of bed at 4am.

2000 steps later, we arrived at Machu Picchu. It was an amazing sight to see and all thought of the previous efforts to reach the summit were forgotten. There were even resident llamas (everyone loves a llama) there.

After a chance to wander around, we had a tour which explained the history of the site.

The above picture is the sun temple, which when it is Winter or Summer solstice, the light from the two windows will meet in the middle.

This stone is a carving of Machu Picchu. The more and more we learnt about the Incas, the more you realised how innovative and resourceful they were. Again, I'm normally not a big fan of tours but our tour guide was brilliant and very knowledgeable. Even I, with my severe lack of attention span, found myself listening attentively. We had more time to get photos after, so I went to get the obligatory one with me and Machu Picchu in the background. Thanks to my aversion to flash and general unphotogenic issues, this turned out to be more challenging than originally thought.

The best of a bad bunch, this had to do. But seriously, do people not know how to take photographs?! I wanted Machu Picchu, not the ground and my Barbie backpack. It reminded me of Arianwen's The downside of solo travel post which is highly relevant in this case. Luckily, with a cheeky bit of cropping, I ended up with this:

We had to leave at 11 to make sure we were back down in Aguas Calientes for the train back to our pickup. To be honest, I had had enough anyway as hoards of buses had arrived and the quiet paradise that it was before turned into a crowded Disneyland-esque attraction. It's obvious why so many people would want to go there and I'm being hypocritical, seeing as I was a tourist myself and I'm adding to the problem. But the amount of people who are let in each day is phenomenal, 2,500 tourists over the supposed limit. In turn, it's leading to structural damage and the likelihood is that unless something is down about it, Machu Picchu will potentially have to close. I just hope something is done, as it is an awe-inspiring place to see and the hype is worth it.

Have you been to Machu Picchu? Where is your favourite site to see?

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