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Nov 14, 2008 - Machu Picchu, Peru
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This was a typical doorway Here we are enjoying MP Our first overall view of MP 
Machu Picchu (MP) is fascinating, to say the least. Getting there has been an adventure. We decided to drive to Arequipa, leave our luggage and truck, then take public transport on to MP. Even if we had decided to drive, you can only get as close as Ollantaytambo, which is still a 2 hour train ride from MP. If we were in Ollantaytambo, we would have had the problem of finding a safe place to park the Hilux and leave our luggage. Therefore, leaving everything in Arequipa best suited our schedule. Besides, we both wanted a break from driving/navigating!

Now the trip, from Arequipa, we had a 10 hour bus ride to Cusco. The bus only leaves at night, so we spent a miserable night riding a "best of Peru" bus to Cusco. From Cusco, we had a 4 hour train to Aguas Calientes, which is the small town at the base of the MP ruins. From Aguas Calientes, we had another 45 minutes bus ride on up to MP. Confused? We were, but now we are convinced that we could do it all again fairly easy - you just need lots of time! Time to find the route information & time to adjust to the altitude.

With so much time spent on public transportation, we met some interesting folks. One couple from England had to spend 5 days in Cusco before heading to MP in order to adjust to the altitude. It seems the man was very sick, and ended up having to go to a doctor. This English couple didn't speak any Spanish. Another couple we met from Russia didn't speak any Spanish and their English was limited. We only met 1 other couple from the US. She spoke perfect Spanish and he didn't speak any. So, you can get around without Spanish, but we think it would be very difficult.

We were advised that the transportation aspect of this trip is controlled by the mafia - we believe it! Our tickets everywhere came at the last minute, and once with other names than ours - now how complicated can Linda & Ed Baker be? We didn't have problems with these tickets, but one must remain flexible.

MP is 3,400 meters high (11,186'). It is in the beginning of the Amazon jungle. The river near MP flows into the Amazon River. The words Macchu Picchu means "old mountain". The mountains are mostly rocks. The dirt to build the structures at MP came from the river which is in the Sacred Valley - some 50 miles away. For water, the Incas cut a channel from Aguas Calientas. The water flowed at 200-300 liters a minute when it was originally cut. The original roofs were thatched. The area is terraced to provide retaining walls. MP was built high in the mountains to provide protection from their enemies.

Parts of the area have been destroyed by landslides, but what remains is magnificent. The grass in the area is kept cut using llamas. There were lots of llamas roaming through the ruins keeping the lawn looking good.

Please enjoy the photos.


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