The magnificent Machu Picchu and the sacred valley

Trip Start Aug 26, 2009
Trip End Jun 24, 2010

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Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Monday, April 5, 2010

Woohooo, hallelujah and yipppeeee! After weeks of not really knowing either way, we finally made it to Machu Picchu. But first we had a tour of the Sacred Valley, full of Incan ruins and stunning natural beauty. First of all we stopped in the small town of Chinchero where we got to see how the locals make their alpaca goodies, including a very interesting dye method using the blood of a parasytic worm. The houses are mostly built on old Incan foundations, which made for a quirky hodge podge of stone work.  At the back of Chinchero there was a set of old terraces that formed one side of some old incan ruins, they were incredibly accurate in the angles of all their buildings, but better was to come.

Next up it was a visit to Moray and the fascinating circular terraces. They were built in that shape to create different temperatures for growing crops and there is a notable difference as you descend to the bottom. After Moray we went to Ollantytambo. The ruins here were never finished due to the arrival of the Spanish but there was still a lot to see. We particuarly liked the store houses that were built stupendously high up into the sides of the mountains. The stones in the upper temple were also chisled in a way that allowed the sun to hit a certain point when it came to the equinox.That evening it was time to board the train to Aguas Calientes to spend the night before big MP.

The next morning we started out ridiculously early while it was still dark, standing in the pouring rain waiting for the bus. When we were finally on our way we could understand how easily this place could be flooded. That very morning, water was pouring off the dirt road and we were scared the bus would slide off the edge. The landslide must have been terrifying.

We arrived but didn't see much of the sunrise due to the relentless rain and mist. We didn't mind, we were just pleased to be there and the mist just added to the ethereal atmosphere of the place. The remoteness of the ruins is what gives them their mystique. They look like they just shouldn't be perched there between the mountain peaks and look almost computer generated.

Our guide took us around, explaining how the city was originally built and showing us the many different parts including housing, temples, observatory and gardens. The place must have been huge. As we wandered around, saying hello to the resident llamas, the sun became to show its face. As the clouds cleared we really saw the magnificence of our surroundings. We sat at one of the higher view points drinking in the sight of Machu Picchu, like two little mesmerised (and soaking) creatures. We took a stroll to the Incan bridge, which gave us more great views and a small idea of the mountain passes the Incans would skip along before the Spanish arrived. It was a fantastic day and the icing on the cake for our time in Peru, we are just so glad we got to see it.
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