long, busy 24 hours. woke up around noon sunday, couldn’t get a direct ticket form cusco to aguas calientes (machu picchu “base camp”) so i got a round trip ticket form ollanta to aguas calientes, walked on down to the bus station, found a (non-express) bus to urubamba (i think i mentioned this in the previous post, but i’m too tired to go double check), caught a transfer in some korean equivalent of a dodge 15 passenger van to ollanta, stayed the night at the…KB Tambo Hostel…. really, really nice place for the price. overlooked a two story garden with a view of inca ruins in the hillsides (hostel sits in the river valley bottom).
took a leap of faith, left my bag in the hostel room with the promise that they would take good care of it, and left the hostel around 4:20 am (no that is not a typo, I willingly and under my own power woke up and went somewhere that early!) got on the train at 4:38 and was at aguas calientes by 6:30am. got on a bus that takes you to Machu Picchu, it was pouring (it’s on top of a mountain, surrounded on three sides by a river, what do you expect), then the fog rolled in… until about 2pm. did a hike out to the inca bridge, where my camera battery promptly died (yay!). with no camera battery and nothing to take pictures of, when it hadn’t burned off by noon, i decided to take a hike to the nearest trail, the machu picchu peak (the city of machu picchu sits in a saddle between machu picchu and huannu (wannu) picchu. well it turns out machu picchu’s peak is 1000 ft above the actual city the buses take you to. ended up being 2.5 hrs up, and sadly also 2.5 hrs down due to my gimped ankle. great pics though; the fog cleared right after I reached the peak (i’d been hiking in a misty fog the whole way up and had no idea just how far up i’d gone). first time i’ve climbed a legitimate mountain. anyways here are some pics. took the bus down to the base camp, nearly missed my train, picked up my bag from the hostel, caught the last taxi out of ollanta and got home. ha, “home”.
there are clouds constantly drifting over machu picchu. two pics taken 10 seconds apart look vastly different and huanna picchu (the lumpy mountain in the upper left,, the mountain that makes or breaks a machu pichu pic) may or may not be in the photo since it’s obscured by fog/clouds
i ran into some british guys on the way up, they let me put my memory card in their camera and take some pics. huannu (i spell it differently every time don’t i?) picchu is to the right, about level with my head. the clouds level with my elbow were swirling around obscuring the view of the city and the british guys finally left without a good machu picchu pic. i stuck around however…
and here’s the view. i’ll have to post a panorama or video of the peak later. you can see for about 10 miles in every direction, along with seeing the river snaking its way around the three sides of machu picchu. i’ll do some video work over christmas and see if i cant post some neat videos.
another pic of me at machu picchu. some japanese guy took this for me
another pic from the same session. there are closeup pics of the buildings, i promise… just not tonight. tired.
hey look, it’s chad… at machu picchu… again.
other people i ran into today… a couple from austria doing an around the world trip, a german dude, a norwegian guy from trollhaven(?) troll something.. an older german couple, some belgians. some australian guy in line at breakfast up on the mountain. pretty wide variety of people on a rainy, foggy monday morning!
i fly out sometime tomorrow morning for lima, then transfer to a plane to buenos aires the same day, where i’ll be spending christmas, and use as a jumping point towards brazil, ultimately for new years in rio.