Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Machu Picchu, Day 2

August 2: Machu Picchu, Day 2
Blog written by Margaret Ridgely Gaier,
Vero Beach, FL

It felt as if we had just fallen asleep when it was time to wake up at 3:30 a.m. As we all came down the stairs with our bags in hand to start with the day you could feel the fatigue in the air. When we made it to the bus station there were only a few people in front of us; we felt as if we had already overcome our first obstacle.

We waited around for an hour and half to find out we all made it on the first and second bus of the day to Machu Picchu. When we got to the site we entered through the ticket gate and then we had to run to be in the first 400 people allowed to hike up Waynapicchu. Waynapicchu is the large 'sugarloaf' mountain behind Machu Picchu. The views from the top of Waynapicchu are spectacular, especially looking toward the ruins and seeing the river below and snowcapped mountains all around you. It was an adventure to make sure we all got spots to go on the hike and we were relieved when we finally made it past the gate leading to the start of the hiking trail.

It was a tedious climb up innumerable Inca steps to the top but we all eventually made it. We were given about an hour to wander the ruins of Waynapicchu and to take in the view before we made our decent back to Machu Picchu (which was easier said than done!).

After a short rest we met up with Peter Frost for a tour of the urban sector of Machu Picchu. As we made our way through the site, we learned everything we would need to know about Machu Picchu, and although we were exhausted from our early start, we were also fascinated by what Peter had to say. Eventually it was time to say goodbye to Machu Picchu and start our four hour journey back to Cusco.

When we finally arrived in Cusco we were all anxious for dinner, and headed straight to a restaurant. After dinner we returned back to our hostel to sleep so that we could start a new day with a new adventure.

Photos below by Alexa Garant, Tecumseh, Ontario:

Waiting (well, sleeping) in the line to get on the bus to get to Machu Picchu early enough to secure a spot the hike to Waynapicchu.

Machu Picchu, now considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

We were at the ruins in time to see the sunrise!

National Geographic Expert Peter Frost giving the up an introduction to the ruins

Emma encounters one of Machu Picchu's resident llamas while Kaia looks on in the background

Forrest finds a spot to contemplate the mysteries of Machu Picchu in the site's quarry.