On arrival, a further 15 minute queue was necessary and the popularity of the site became apparent. When we were finally all in, our guide Freddy took us to the starting place of our tour which was right next to the line dividing the urban half of Machu Picchu from the agricultural half (slap bang in the middle). As we walked to this spot, the enormity of what we were experiencing really hit home. For many of the party, this was our first wonder of the world and I tell you now, it did not fail to impress. The white granite walls were massive although the stones used were not as large as they had been at Saqsaywaman and the knowledge that the last Incan activity to be carried out here was probably over 500 years ago didn't diminish the feeling of vitality or the energy flow from the ancient constructions.
Freddy's knowledge of the area was outstanding and we were so blown over by the amount of information that we failed to ask enough questions (it got to the point where Freddy even said that he'd pay the next person to ask a question!). What really shocked me personally was how clever and modern the Incas seemed to be. They wore very similar clothes to what we do now: shirts, trousers, jackets etc. and their architectural and engineering abilities far exceeded anything known at the same time. The question has even been raised if the Incas and pre-Incas were able to fly as many of the cities and sites (e.g. the Nasca lines) are only truly visible from the air. Freddy continued the tour through the temples of the city explaining that in its day, the city which was home to around 500 noble Incans, was probably a huge pilgrimage site.
After the tour was finished we rushed to the lone building at the highest point in the city to take the famous postcard picture. By this time, we were already running late for the train and so (far too soon) we had to make our way back to the bus where we were split up into two groups on different buses. At this point in time, we were meant to be boarding the train to Ollantaytambo. So we were very late. When we got to the hostel to collect our bags, the train was due to leave and after a speedy walk/run to the train station, we just about caught the train.
The train itself had glass windows in the roof so we could see everything as it went by. The views were truly stunning and the scenery swiftly changed from the deep jungle to the more arid Peru we are so used to. After a 1 hour 45 minute bus journey from Ollantaytambo back to Cusco, we were given some free time to further explore Cusco. An Italian dinner filled us up far sooner than expected and now we are back at the beloved Wayki trek hostel.
Sorry I couldn't write more about it but Cliff is complaining that he is falling asleep waiting for me to finish. grrrrrrr. (Ed. I WAS ASLEEP!!!!! )
Happy Birthdays for Anya's dad and Mrs D's husband!! (Ed. sorry for the delay getting this to you guys )
Written by Lucy