October 23, 2007

Machu Picchu

To see Machu Picchu, another World Heritage site - and also on the list of the new version of the Seven Wonders of the World - was obviously one of the major reasons to visit Peru!

The normal way to approach Machu Picchu is to use the train from Cusco, either the whole way to a surprising little town called Aguas Calientes (= Hot Waters), or to leave the train, generally at a point called “Km 88”, and walk the Inca Trial for three or four days. I had dreamt of making the last part by foot, but had some fears about the 4200 meters (13800 ft) Huarmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s) Pass and my (smoker) lung capacity, so I decided at last for the easy way – train all the way (four hours) to Aguas Calientes and bus (30 minutes) on serpent roads up to Machu Picchu. I somehow regret, because I believe I could have done it!

The train trip is already an experience; you first take the direction to Valle Sacrado (Sacred Valley) and then you follow the Urubamba River, downwards, to the end station Aguas Calientes. The landscape becomes tropical – actually the slopes of the Andes here encompass the upper Amazon basin!

Once I got off the bus and entered the Machu Picchu site, I thought I must first at least do part of the Inca Trial, so I made it backwards, some almost two hours’ tough walk up to what for the real walkers is the first point from where they can see Machu Picchu, called Intipunku (2720 meters = 8924 ft). The view of Machu Picchu, some 400 meters (1300 ft) below is splendid, but as it was a little bit misty, it was difficult to make the nice photos I wished.

Anyhow, I walked down the slopes, spent a few hours on the site and took some photos of this marvellous place, but as I wanted something better, I decided after a night at Aguas Calientes to take the first morning bus at 5.30 back to the site, just in time to see the place wakening up at the sunrise at 6.00. It was worth it!

I don’t believe that I here have to tell you the story about the discovery of this place, never found by the Spanish conquerors, in 1911 and how it now has become one of the world’s major tourist sites!

A few words about Aguas Calientes: There are two main streets in this little town, more or less only living on Machu Picchu tourists. One of the streets has also a rail track where some trains pass now and then. The other street climbs to the thermal springs where you can take baths in a number of pools with very varying temperatures, from very hot to ice cold. Some of the below pictures are of the local population.
To see these photos better, I would suggest you go again to my photo blog!


lyliane said...

Et le voyage de mes rêves continue, tu devrais enregistrer tes commentaires, qu'on puisse les écouter sur ton blog, car je ne pourrai pas écouter la suite de vive voix! encore mille fois merci.

lyliane said...

Ton blog retarde d'une heure, il est 00:40 heure, bonne nuit

Drama Div@ said...

one word to describe the first pixxie.. WOW.. it's a million dollar view.. simply breathtaking!

Annie said...

This is stunning. It wouldn't have even crossed my mind to try to walk the four days there; I'd have been so eager to get there and see that wonder of the world.

Kate said...

Machu Pichu is a dream of a lifetime for many people. Lucky you to have had the experience. Your photos of the Peruvian people are wonderful to view. Thanks!

Ex-Shammickite said...

I really enjoyed looking at the photos on your picture blog, what a marvellous trip. And such a magical place, rising up out of the mountain mists. It has a huge "wow" factor!

Keshi said...


tnxx for the history!


Peter said...

Oui, c'était un voyage de mes rêves et je sai que c'est aussi un voyage de tes rêves - à faire!
Non, l'heure est correcte: C'st marqué 12:41 AM ce qui est supposé dire 00:41!

drama div@:
Fortunately, you can make trip for a bit less money!

The four days' walk are also supposed to breathtaking; you will se a lot of other wonders!

Peter said...

Yes, I consider myself very lucky to have made this trip!

Yes, "wow" is something which often comes into your mind during this kind of trip!

Tnxx to you for coming here!

Matritensis said...

Peter, yes, you are very lucky, visit Machu Pichu is one of my dreams too.

As always amazing pics

hpy said...

Ca doit être fabuleux. Et ça le serait encore plus sans les touristes...

Peter said...

Some dreams come true!

Comme tu dois le voir, à six heures le matin la place est presque vide... encore plus fabuleux!

ruth said...

Thank you for showing us the people too. Wouldn't I love to go there, must be impossible to express what you really feel being there. But thanks so much for the expert job doing just that.

Azer Mantessa said...

you made me start watching that cartoon 'cuzco' (walt disney) ... hehehe ... the best i can do to feel the trip.

another interesting trip.

i too sometimes believe i can do things but after reconsidering my own ability, decided not to proceed. ironically, i always regret of not trying.

the least you made that 2-hour walk and the journey by train still worth a lot.

thx for sharing this.

Peter said...

Yes, there is a clear "wow"-feeling! ... and you have to realise that at last you are there and experience what you may have dreamt of for long!

You are so right! But, after all, I feel that I did at least part of the road ... and before and afterwards, I walked and climbed a lot!

april said...

Phantastic, it must be a magic place.

delphinium said...

peter, je reviendrai demain pour commenter. Là, j'accuse le contre coup de ma matinée de folie, je vous embrasse et vous souhaite une bonne fin de journée.

Ming the Merciless said...

Marvelous pictures!!!

I hope to visit Machu Picchu one day. I love your description of the trip to the site.

Nihal said...

Machu pichu seems very interesting to pay a visit! Appreciate that you did let us know about its history, merci! These kinda people photos always make me think for long minutes... I think such a mirror from their life there. Unfortunately there is people similar like the Peruvian people here in the eastern part of Turquie.. Remember, Turquie is a big-mosaic country both culture and people.

Peter said...

It IS magic!

A demain!

Peter said...

Yes, go there if you have a chance!

It's certainly very interesting... and, yes the Indian population living in the mountains is obviously very poor, but they give in most cases an impression of being quite happy. Basically, you cannot feel any discrimation between the original population and the "conquerors" - and today there are a lot of mixed ethnics and cultures. There is also a lot of unemployment, but at the same time you always see long queues in front of banks, post offices... not enough of personnel. You find also a lot of highly educated people as e.g. taxi drivers... - there are thousands of taxis everywhere!

Ash said...

Stunning images and views. WOW :)

Anonymous said...

Very nice photography, Peter. I like the post very much.

Maxime said...

Il y a des jours où l'on rêverait d'être un condor !

Emily Lin said...

Thanks for the details about traveling to Machu Pichu. And the photos tell us all about it! Amazing landscape. =)

Peter said...

Well the place and the landscape are stunning!

Thanks, old man!

On peut toujours rêver! Il faut rêver!

Peter said...

Put it on your travel plans; if not for tomorrow, for one of these days!

isabella said...

Splendid photos - mist and all!

Glad to hear that you made the partial trek, even with your limited lung capacity (a subject for another post, perhaps?), because I have asthma and the altitude of 8000 feet seems very intimidating to me...

Still, it would be worth it ;-)

Cuckoo said...

The first picture is amazingly beautiful. Breathtaking view !!

We have a chinese restaurant named Machu Pichu. ;)

Peter said...

Sorry to hear about your asthma. Well, you know I was even up on almost 5000 m (16400 ft) and did not realise any other difficultiy than having to walk (climb) slower than on sea level. For the asthma, I don't know, but the air is very clean and dry.

Surprising name for a Chinese restaurant!

lyliane said...

J'oubliai pour l'heure que ton blog est en anglais!.C'est vrai qu'il faut toujours rêver et je fais en sorte que certains des miens deviennent réalité, mais hélas, d'autres resteront des rêves à tout jamais.

Peter said...

Il faut toujours garder quelques rêves!

Marguerite said...

Bonjour Peter, y a pas de place pour toi sur le banc à coté de ces dames. La petite fille a sûrement une substance licite dans son verre. T'as pas vraiment le type américain du sud, c'est à dire enfant du soleil, alors lorsque tu auras un peu atterri, ce serait bath que tu répondes au défi que je t'ai lancé sur mon blog jardin

C'est toujours toi qui me donnes des récompenses, et je ne t'ai jamais encore défié.
Et bien voilà, cette fois c'est fait. Comme tu es prolixe et bavard, cela ne devrait pas t'être trop dur...

Shionge said...

Gosh you are so efficient Peter...I have to catch up. The photos of the children & people are wonderful to watch :D

catherine said...

ce sont vraiment de superbes photos mais j'aimerais szvoir ce que tu as pensé de ce que tu as vu .... en dehors de l'aspect touristique quelle impression as tu eu de la société péruvienne pour ce que tu as pu en voir ? tes photos montrent que tu as su regarder les gens avec beaucoup de gentillesse.

Peter said...

J'ai répondu, comm j'ai pu!

I found the people in general, and the children in particular, charming!

I met only friendly, smiling, nice people. Of course many are poor and begging is part of the game; often they expect a coin or two if you take them on photo, but I tried to rather zoom... If not, they would pose and it would not be natural. (Oops, I replied in English...) J'ai trouvé particulièrement les enfants adorables!

krystyna said...

Thank you so much for this spectacular, unique views of the beautiful Andes. I hope to go there some day to see famous Machu Piccho. Great shots, Peter!

All the best!

Zhang said...

Bien étudié Machu Picchu. La Grande Muraille de Chine fait partie des sept merveilles du monde(la nouvelle version qui date de 2007, je crois) aussi. Je te le dis, mais pas pour montrer la fierté d'une Chinoise.

Peter said...

... et une merveille que je connais. Tu peux être fier, même si ce n'est pas toi qui a construit!

Anonymous said...

Is Bigfoot Real?

Antoine & Katharine GEORGE said...

Hello Peter,

I am writing you from Cusco. I have just seen your 3D model of Machu Picchu and I would like to download it to see it more in detail but I couldn't.

Did it take you long to do it ? Have you tried to install it in Google Earth ?

I f you want and you have time you can write me at antoine@transhumancias.org