After leaving our home of Huanchaco in northern Peru, Cornelia, Foreste, Anna and I felt pretty low on our way south to Cusco. But instead of wallowing in self pity we decided to book our trip to Machu Picchu, and that definitely lifted our spirits. Cusco is the town closest to the site and that’s where all the treks start from, so we decided to do a 4 day one, leaving the following day.
In the last 3 months I’ve been trying really hard to avoid any pictures of the site, I wanted to try and save it as a surprise for when I got there. This was a bit of an unrealistic objective as Machu Picchu is one of the most visited places in the world, so Peru is going to be proud of it and therefor have pictures of it everywhere. I was mainly trying to not build it up too much, as I’d hate to be the person who got there and went “is that it?”.
The 4 day trek was brilliant, a group of about 15 of us went with 3 tour guides. We hiked, we mountain biked and we zip lined. As you can imagine this is not the original Inca Trail (the way the Incas walked to Machu Picchu), for that one you have to book 6 months in advance as only a certain amount of people can do it everyday. However I would now highly recommend zip lining upside down.
The whole way along, the views where spectacular. We went from a jungle climate with coffee and coca plantations to the top of the Andes with views over maintain tops as far as the eye can see. I’ve seen beautiful mountains before in the Alpes, but these are different, greener and there seemed to be no end to them.
On day 4 in Aguascalientes we arose at a glorious 4 am to begin the two hour climb of the steps that lead to Machu Picchu. I must point out here that you can get to Aguascalientes by train, and you can avoid the 2 hours stairs climb in the morning by getting a bus. But we’d come this far so we didn’t want to cheat at the last hurdle. And I have to say it was completely worth it, when you arrive at the top and go into Machu Picchu at 6 am as the sun is peeking over the mountains, it’s a bit overwhelming.
If I’m completely honest, the ruins themselves to me, are just ruins. People used to live there and this is what is left. I have a hard time getting exited over 500 year old walls. But it’s the setting that made it for me. After walking up all this way, this is by far the most impressive landscape we saw. After a toured guide around the site, which I must admit I remember nothing of (well come on, it was 6 am) we climbed up another 600 meters to Machu Picchu Mountain. I could have sat up there all day, if I hadn’t started getting dizzy looking over the edge. From this point it seemed like we were actually at eye level with the tips of the highest Andes mountains, and you can’t help wonder how the hell they built Machu Picchu on that peak.