The train from Ollantaytambo to Aquas Calietntes was nice, especially after spending so many days hiking. The train ride was about an hour-long, just enough time for a quick bite to eat and drink which was complimentary on Peru Rail.
Arriving in Aquas Calientes there was a lot of commotion, being a heavy tourist area. I made may way through the crowd of people from all over the world speaking a myriad of languages to my hotel which was located in the center of town.
Aguas Calientes is a town in the Urubamba River Valley, in southeast Peru that sits at an elevation of around 6,700 feet. It’s known for its thermal baths and as a gateway to the nearby Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. The town center is full of eateries and shops, anchored by the central Mercado artisanal, and a craft market.
After checking in I headed up to my room. It felt good to have some time to relax, unpack, get a shower, and take a nap. My room had a nice view of the mountains surrounding the town. I collected my laundry and headed out to find a laundromat and explore Aquas Calientes. While looking for a laundry mat I ran into the most beautiful Napoleon mastiff. The local people assured me he was taken care of. After dropping off laundry I headed to town square.
The local church was beautiful depicting the negro Jesus on a cross and many non traditional catholic ornamentation which was nice to see the diversity. After inserting quarter to light a bulb and saying a prayer I headed to local restraint to meet some of the group for dinner. Some of us were getting up extra early to catch the first bus to Machu Picchu so we needed to get up early. My grandmas use to say early bird catches the worm and for the most part that has been true in life.
after dinner and a few drink I walked around Aquas Calientes awhile longer exploring the markets and shops. It is a very lively town with a lot going on and endless variety of entertainment. I stayed out later than I should have but it was my only night in Aquas Callientes and I wanted to take full advantage of it. I eventually made it back to my hotel and passed out. Luckily I had previously gotten my pack and everything ready for the next morning so when I woke up O was ready to go.
Next morning I got up around 4:00 grabbed my things and headed downstairs. The group was waiting so I grabbed some coffee and we headed for the bus. When we got there around 5:00 there was a line about 50 yards long but by 5:30 it was around 200 yards long. The energy in the atmosphere was electric considering that for most people It is a lifelong dream to visit Machu Picchu.
Once the bus arrived we all huddled in. The bus was cramped and the ride consisted entirely of switchbacks up the side of the mountain for about 30 minutes. Once at the top buses are dropping people off as they exit and get in line to enter Machu Picchu. Since we were one of the first busses the lines were not long and when we got into Machu Picchu we decided to hike and hour up to the Sun Gate were the view of Machu Picchu is amazing. Hiking along the ancient trail we ran into hikers and Alpacas. When we got to the top you could not see the ruins because of the dense fog. At the top many people were sitting along the wall of the sun gate waiting to see a glimpse of Machu Picchu, praying that the fog would dissipate. Eventually as the sun got brighter the fog moved on and we were rewarded with a spectacular view of Machu Picchu. everyone cheered and stared in ah at the magnificent view.
After taking some Pictures and absorbing the energy we hiked back down to the ruins to meet the rest of the group and Hugo who would be giving a tour of the ancient Inca ruins. Once back down at the ruins many more people had arrived and it was getting crowded. After making my way to Hugo along with the rest of the group he explained everything he knew about Machu Picchu.
Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas” (a title more accurately applied to Vilcabamba), it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Binghambrought it to international attention in 1911.
Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of how they originally appeared. By 1976, thirty percent of Machu Picchu had been restored and restoration continues.
Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll.
What fascinates me is that the older pre-inca structure which existed there before the Inca civilization is far more complex and advanced. You can clearly see in the pictures the distinct difference between the two. Even with today’s technology we would have a very hard time replicated what the pre-inca civilization maybe thousands of years ago,
We spent about 4 hours at the sight and once you get into the line they sort of force you through. I have to say Machu Picchu is a magical place with an energy I have never experienced. Words really can’t describe the experience and picture don’t do it justice. In all honestly if your interested go and visit Peru and I promise it will be an experience of a lifetime.
After getting many more picture we exited Machu Picchu loaded on the bus to go back to Aqua Calientes and then the following day onto Ollantaytambo and then onto Cusco but not before celebrating a little too much the last night in Aquas Callientes and I imagine stories of the wild and wonderful fellow from West Virginia will be told for some time to come.
I will be back to Machu Picchu without a doubt and hope to eventually hike all trails leading to the ancient Inca ruins and even onto Choquequirao. Maybe March 2019 anyone interested in going let me know you will learn more about yourself and find answers to questions you never thought to ask. Little did I know at this time I would return to Peru two months later.
GoPro Video coming soon……