June 9, 2008

During the weekends, when we are off work, we have the time to explore the area.  This past weekend we visited Machu Pichu, the famous Incan ruins.

Saturday morning we met up with a few other volunteers and rode in a van for 2 hours and then a train for another two hours to arrive at the city at the base of Machu Pichu called Aguas Calientes.

Aguas Calientes is a small, touristy town.  We all got rooms in a local hostel and spent the evening exploring the town, enjoying local food and coffee.

We also took a walk along the abandoned railroad tracks to enjoy the enormous mountains.

At least we thought the tracks were abandoned.

The next morning woke up at 4:30am and took a bus all the way up the mountain.  We made it in time to see the sunrise on the mountain.  It was spectacular.

Sunrise:

In Machu Pichu we had a guide who provided some history and pointed out important structures.

After about an hour he set us loose to climb Waynupichu.  This is the mountain you see directly behind the ruins and offers a spectacular panoramic of the entire area.  They only allow 400 people a day to climb the mountain so we were in line early to begin the steep, staired hike at 8am.  The way up was difficult due to the elevation but the view from the top was amazing.

(note the zip-zag line on the left side of the view of Machu Pichu from Maynupichu….that’s the bus’s trail up the mountain!)

Once we made it to the top several of us decided to take a longer trail back which offered a chance to see another “lunar temple” and “grand cave”.  The hike ended up being an extremely challenging three hours of steep ups and downs as well as several ladders.  We were absolutely exhausted, starving and dehydrated in the end.

We returned back to Machu Pichu and made our way up to the “watchtower” which overlooks the ruins from the opposite side.  This side was truly the “postcard” picture.

And there were alpacas.

And then we all took a nap.

We then rode the train, took a bus and arrived back in Cuzco red-eyed, sun-burnt, bug-bitten and overwhelmed by how amazing Machu Pichu was.

This morning it was back to reality.  Up early to give more vaccinations!

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One Response to “”

  1. bruster said

    awesome pics! Thanx for keeping the blog updated… classes are starting and going well.

    love you guys and I’m praying for you.

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