Saturday, July 23, 2011

Machu Picchu

Loads of people travel from all over the world to see what has been named one of the new ¨Wonders of the World¨--Machu Picchu. After traveling a bit in the Sacred Valley and seeing quite a few Inca ruins, I wasn`t sure how impressed I would be with Machu Picchu. The ruins at Ollanta and Pisac were, after all, rather impressive.

But Machu Picchu did not disappoint. It was just as spectacular as everyone said it would be. The ruins themselves are extensive and completely open for the exploring, but the seemingly tropical mountains in which they are situated are possibly even more impressive. The two together are--to be cliche but honest--a once in a lifetime experience. Although the prices in the area are exorbitant--Aguas Calientes, recently re-named Machu Picchu Pueblo, feels more like Times Square than a Third World country--they are indeed worth the spectacular views of this mysterious architectural wonder.

In recent years, climbing Waynu Picchu (a hill next to the ruins with a great view) has become a bit like Black Friday.  People wake up at 2 or 3 AM to be one of the 400 people per day who have the privilege to climb what is described as a dangerous and extremely steep hill. There are, however, many many hikes in the Machu Picchu area open to everyone that do not charge an extra fee (extra fees, by the way, are common in this area).

Instead of waking up at an ungodly hour and blowing our chances for having a non-cranky day, Ryan and I opted to climb Machu Picchu Mountain--the tallest mountain in the park situated opposite Waynu Picchu. We were not disappointed.

Although the hike itself was grueling and undoubtedly scary for those accustomed to First World safety measures, we were rewarded with a spectacular bird`s-eye view of the area.

By the end of the day, we were unsurprisingly pooped! But we had no regrets!

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