A Travellerspoint blog

Day 24 - Machu Picchu

2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level

semi-overcast 24 °C

Another early start - down to breakfast at 5am!

Our guide picked us up for the 75 minute drive to Ollantaytambo station to get the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes. On the way out of Cusco we saw lots of dogs roaming around - one pile of rubbish had about 20 dogs around it all scavenging for food.

The Vistadome train was very comfortable with great views of the Sacred Valley and the Andean foothills, it runs alongside the Urubamba river. Breakfast was a fruit pastry and a drink. The journey took just over 90 minutes.

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We were met at the Aguas Calientes station by another guide who walked us through the town to the bus stop. Although there were about 100 people in the bus queue, the guide took us to the front and put us on the next bus. It took about 20 minutes to drive up to the entrance to the site where we met our next guide, Darwin.

Machu Picchu meaning old mountain or old peak is an Incan citadel built in the Andes mountain range around 1450 AD and has more than 150 buildings and over 100 flights of stairs.

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They used a technique called ashlar where the stones are cut to fit together without using mortar. Many of the stones weigh more than 50 tons. They polished the stone to make it smooth for the more important buildings such as the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Three Windows.

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This is the temple of the Condor - the bit at the front represents the beak and the rock behind it's wings
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Our guided tour finished with lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge, so we had a couple of hours left to do a bit more exploring on our own. We decided to walk to the Inca bridge. There were great views of the valley on the way. The trail is closed just before the bridge, which is where it starts getting very narrow and very steep.

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We caught the bus back to Aguas Calientes and had a little look round the town - it's very pretty with lots of places to eat and drink.

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It was getting dark when we caught the train back to Ollantaytambo, but the train crew provide hot pizza and a drink followed by a fashion show of all the jumpers and tops they sell from the train.
We were met at the station and driven back to our hotel.

That evening as it was a long day we ate some snacks and went to bed.

Posted by JenBuckley 10:12 Archived in Peru

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