I have been meaning to blog about our experience of Machu Picchu from last year, but the internet was so slow in Ushuaia that I really just lost all motivation.
Currently, we are in Mendoza, Argentina which is located west of Buenos Aires. We are staying here for three weeks, to experience the Argentine wine country (hey it’s the source of Malbec wines!) and maybe go up snowy mountains again.
The good news is, our internet connection is ten times faster than Ushuaia! I can finally import, export, upload, and write about our Machu Picchu experience. I hope I remember as much details as I can though…
We were spending the last few weeks of 2021 in Peru, staying in its capital Lima. Since covid was still raging, we were very careful not to go out as much, and to have our masks on if we do need to go out to minimize the chances of getting covid.
We didn’t have plans yet for New Year’s, so I suggested to Alex that we should go check out Machu Picchu! And what did he do? He researched and booked everything so we can have a memorable end of year memory! :)
Note: These photos were from my iPhone 11, so not as high quality as the most recent posts. Just wanted to let you know…
How beautiful! This is the view from our Airbnb when we arrived. Elevation was pretty high so it was cold.
This has got to be one of the smallest airports we've been to so far.
Loving the touches of Peruvian design in the airport
Can you believe it? I can travel to a lot of places with my Philippine passport visa-free (and it really helps to have a US visa)
We had to get immediate supplies in the small store next to our Airbnb, this reminds me of sari-sari stores in the Philippines!
Morning view. As per our research, you have to acclimate yourself to the high elevation of Cusco for a few days so you can breathe better, especially if you're hiking Machu Picchu!
Have I already mentioned that I love going to the markets or groceries when we travel? It gives me joy to see how different things are per place! Say hello to this maiz morado (purple)!
After a few days of getting used to the elevation, and drinking coca tea, it's finally the day of our hike up Machu Picchu. I am reviewing the how the routes will actually be eating my breakfast
We chose to take an Uber to the train station, it only takes 30 minutes from Cusco - and it gives us an opportunity to see more of the views
We had booked through PeruRail - it's a THREE hour and FORTY minutes ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu, and vice-versa
The train is named after Hiram Bingham, the American who rediscovered the abandoned Machu Picchu in 1911 - Hello Doggo!
We were reminded that we need to have faceshields on the entire train ride to Machu Picchu - went out the Poroy Train station, and these ladies were selling them, plus beanies and some snacks, too!
I have not been on a train ride as beautiful as this! You get to take photos of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, traveling through the Andes!
Hours and hours through farm lands and greens!
Our conductor was nice, I noticed his name was actually Victor Hugo so I wanted a photo with him!
If you look hard enough, you can see something carved on the tip of the mountain. I wonder what it says...
I love how Peruvian buildings look like!
This was the part of the train where it had to maneuver the whole train a bit to get up Machu Picchu
This is called a vistadome train - you get a 360 view of your surroundings
Since this is the sacred valley, this is the sacred river (Urubamba River)
We saw some mountain tops with snow on it, or covered in thick clouds - no wonder this place is magical!
In Aguas Calientes, another name for the town of Machu Picchu, we saw this doggo dressed in Peruvian colors
Upon arriving in town, we had to rush to get bus tickets since we only had a limited time to do everything! Travel Time: 8 hours by train to and from Machu Picchu, then back to our Airbnb at night!
They were selling bags of coca leaves... It helps with your breathing... Important story later...
Aguas Calientes is a small town we didn't get to explore much of, but there were a lot of hostels to stay in if you fancy a longer trip here
This day really felt like we were in the Amazing Race! At least we look good :p
It took a long time for humanity to rediscover Machu Picchu since it was so hidden up in the mountains, through thick forests and strong river currents!
The line to get into Machu Picchu - according to our tour guide, their numbers were really affected by Covid
Some of their souvenirs
They were so strict that there were men scattered throughout the park to call you out when you don't have your mask on... for real...
Lots of tour groups having the same idea as we were to go to Machu Picchu on the last day of the year
You have a lot of stairs to go up to when you enter the park, the sun was hot and up...
First photo opportunity of Machu Picchu! It was the perfect day to see it! No fog covering it...
Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca city in Peru, high in the Andes Mountains. It was built around 1450 AD and abandoned soon after 1572. The city is quite well preserved, with many of the buildings still standing or partially standing. Visitors can climb through ancient streets and walkways built into the sides of hills; there are also terraces for agriculture or other purposes (like worshipping gods). At certain points along these terraces, you’ll have incredible views that stretch for miles in all directions—it’s like being on top of the world!
We made it Alex! A world wonder!
You won't notice in this photo, but I was having a really hard time breathing, and I was feeling so hot from my sweater
Our tour guide kept asking if I wanted to have a break, so I obliged. It was difficult because the paths were narrow, and this was where it ended up in - finally I can breathe better!
Eugenia gave us some coca leaves to chew so we can feel better - once we were, we sat on a field of grass so she can tell us more about the history of Machu Picchu
This was how Hiram Bingham discovered the ruins, all covered in nature! They cleaned it up with help from the locals
Thankfully I had a change of clothes, time to take couple photos :P
Our tour guide Eugenia directing our poses...
And we obliged :P
You only had 3 hours to go around Machu Picchu, having a guide helped with our pace
Alex has some great photos taken with his zoom lens!
I would take off my mask when there were no people around me, I promise!
WE SAW A LLAMA!!! Did you know they were only put there by the Peruvian government for tourism purposes?
This Llama had an attitude, and was jumping up and town looking for some fruits
Looking at what it's looking at
There, a perfect photo of Machu Picchu!
I was missing my family so I had the brilliant idea of taking our fam photo in the photos we travel to
FACTS - the smaller mountain here is called the *Huayna Picchu*, or *young mountain* and the bigger moutain is called *Machu Picchu* or *old mountain*
Machu Picchu is divided into two sectors - agricultural where thew grew crops, and urban where they have sacred ceremonies
Behind me are the ruins of where the people lived, stored food, and performed ceremonies
Never thought I would see a world wonder! Happy end of 2021 indeed!
A panorama of the view from the top
3 hours is not enough to go around here
You get a lot of chances to take photos from different angles
We were told to pose like this!
Thank you Alex for this wonderful experience, as always!
Can you imagine how the Incas made this? So high up in the mountains, with no machines to help them!
The entrance door to Machu Picchu
Why are the stones in a straight line? Because they had all the time in the world to perfect it!
The Incan engineers really thought of everything - they had locks built in to the structures
Explaining to us how perfect the rocks are
This is the agricultural center where they grew corn and potatoes
A typical house in Machu Picchu, this would have a roof on it
I'm just really happy to be here, we played Civ 6 so much, and being here makes me feel closer to the Incan civilization
I would suggest you also get a tour guide when you're here, if you want Eugenia's number just let me know!
Another view of the other side of Machu Picchu
I commend how they really keep the place clean and free from vandals
There are opportunities to hike the different routes here, sadly we don't have the time and want of more physical activity :P
The silent stones of Machu Picchu
On our way to the Sacred Plaza
I was really surprised at how HUGE Machu Picchu actually is
You must continue...
These rocks have survived time...
These mountains have been witness to history...
These ruins have seen great, sacred people...
And we were lucky enough to visit such a magical place
The Sacred Plaza...
This place is so hidden, I can't even believe an American discovered it... :P
This is the Principal Temple, where they housed sacred objects and worshipped the supreme god Viracocha
On the left side of the temple, this rock was not to be touched...
Apparently, kite-shaped rock represents the Southern Cross constellation, and is a revered object for the Incas, and is used for astronomy
As you can see, the Principal Temple's right side was damaged by earthquakes
Can how amazing is it that these rocks were hand carved to be as straight as they are?
This is the Temple of the Three Windows aka the windows of the universe. They represent each part of the world: the underground (Uku-Pacha), the heaven (Hanan-Pacha), and the present time (Kay-Pacha)
The Ceremonial Center located in the King's Neighborhood (Barrio del Rey)
In front of the Three Windows Temple
Photo with the Principal Temple
The Incas were masters of irrigation, and had these systems for water to flow
Houses of Factories - the industrial section of the town
This is in the lower part of Machu Picchu, and the air is cooler here
There would also be schools for the elite's children here in Machu Picchu
Imagine living here undisturbed, then the Spaniards are conquering Peru... So Machu Picchu decided to leave this place to protect it...
Behind is the agricultural center, in front is my love... :P
Areas where they could gather, do some agricultural experiments
How amazing the views must have been like here at night, without light pollution! Can you imagine being mesmerized by the night sky in such a sacred place?
They recreated the thatched roof in this area with the Sacred Rock
They would secure the roof with those wood that juts out of the building
May I remind you that Machu Picchu is at 2,430 meters above sea level
And all these rocks had to be taken up here
After hundreds of years, these buildings are still up
And people still hike this area for days
Our guide said to pose funny...
In front of the Sacred Rock, of all places :(
The Sacred Rock was shaped to resemble the mountains behind it!
Windows... See how they balanced those thick, heavy rocks...
Another sample of the formation to hold the roofs
View from above of the Agricultural center
Imagine planting corn and this is your view!
Storage houses for crops
Terraces are a feat of human ingenuity!
They use terraces like this to increase areas where they can plant, and to have better control of water for irrigation
No people around, hence our maskless faces
Zoom in, and you can see how big this place is compared to people
More storage houses
If you look closely, you can see coca leaves still being offered... Don't put coins though...
On the way out of Machu Picchu...
There are trails going up Huayna Picchu, you can follow the Inca Trail...
Feeling so much better after seeing the whole of Machu Picchu, maybe this place really recharges your energy...
So happy we did this together Alex! One for the books!
Thank you so much Eugenia for sharing with us the wonders of Machu Picchu! Hasta luego!
We were so tired from exploring Machu Picchu, we were so thankful to be in an airconditioned bus going back into Aguas Calientes
They eat alpaca............
On our way back to the train station, there is a market full of cute goodies...
What a cute Llama!!!
Lots of restaurants and hotels in this small town
It's the details that are overlooked...
Wish we had stayed longer! We were rushing to the train station...
Or not... selfie time... :P
We made it! It's already dark and most of the people on the train are also pooped! Time for our faceshields and mask combo.
They taught us that this is a Llama...
And this is an Alpaca...
That was a lot of photos! Took me a half a day to select and write these captions. It was a wonderful experience that I would recommend to those who are interested in seeing a world wonder in person!
PS. A few weeks after visiting Machu Picchu, they experienced severe flooding that had 900 people evacuated to safety. There were houses that were destroyed and the railway had structural damages. :(