How do I write about one of the most amazing experience I’ll ever have, that we as a family will ever have together? How do I describe what it is like to climb up one of the New Seven Wonders of the World? It’s pretty awesome to think of it that way, a Wonder of the World. How many of us can make claims to having seen one? I know I’ll be lucky to see another one in my in my lifetime, that’s for sure.
I had wanted to climb to the top of Huayna Picchu which is the mountain in the background of this photo. Only about 400 people are allowed to climb per day and our guide told us that we would need to leave at 3AM to reserve our spot. No one was up for such an early adventure. Plus, Soso was a little young for an hour hike up a steep, narrow and at time precarious trail.
There are two main areas in Machu Picchu, agricultural and urban. The urban area contains several religious sites including the Temple of the Sun. Note how the architecture resembles the Qoricancha Sun Temple in Cusco?
Near the Temple are the Scared Baths also known as Ceremonial Baths and Ritual Fountains. Similar in concept to the one found in Tambomachay in Cusco, here there are 16 baths, each one flowing into another.
One theory states that the sunlight through the windows would cast a shadow of the stepped stone in the center, creating the Inca “cross.” The cross represents the four regions of the Inca Empire. By the way, our guide was camera-shy.
In the center of the plaza was this large stone, that seem to have been in transition. The Incas did not use wheels so how these massive stones were moved from the quarry let alone up the mountain is still unknown.
A small climb up from the plaza is the only intact Intiwatana stone left in South America. The English translation is “the hitching post of the sun.” It is believed that Machu Picchu was used to study astronomy and that Intiwatana stone helped to predict the solstices. Many people today believe that the stone has magnetic healing powers and we could see tourists putting their hands over the stone.
The guided tour was over after the llamas and we were on our own. We accidentally found the trail to the Inca Bridge. At the beginning of the trail was a guard who took down our names and the time we entered the trail. I guess the trail was isolated and narrow enough for precautions.
We finally made it to the bridge. There are actually two bridges to Machu Picchu. One rope bridge is on the Inca trail. This one is known as the Trunk Bridge because they used to lay down trunks to cross and remove it to make Machu Picchu inaccessible to invaders.
We made it back to the guard house. We headed back to the main plaza to take some more photos.
Here are a few photos to give you an idea of the height and steepness of Machu Picchu.
The tiny hut way up on top of the mountain is the Guardian’s Hut and where the Inca Trail enters Machu Picchu. It is the highest point in Machu Picchu and the view down to the main plaza is supposed to be spectacular. We never made it to the top hut. By the time the tour was over the, trail up had gotten so crowded, it would have taken another hour to get up there. We were getting hungry and tired.
It was hard to stop taking pictures. I have ridiculous number of pictures with the same exact background at slightly different angles. It’s just that up there, everything looked so beautiful and spectacular and fabulous and you just kind of get click happy.
A final look at the Huayna Picchu that I didn’t get to climb. If you click on the photo, you can actually zoom and see the terraces and buildings up on top. The whitish looking thing is a tarp covering one of the buildings.
And we’re done. After 6 hours of climbing up and down Machu Picchu, we were more than ready to rest our weary feet and find some food. All except for Soso. Soso impressed me. She kept up with us the entire time. In fact she wanted to climb to the Guardian’s Hut and she was very disappointed when we told her it was time to leave.