May 22nd
written by Alonna

Hello from Machu Picchu!!
(sort of, I´m technically in the town, Aguas Calientes)

We just spent the last 2 days visiting Machu Picchu. It´s totally amazing! The mountains here are enormous, very steep and the close ones are lush and green. Behind those are the ‘real’ Andes, steep rocky peaks with snow and glaciers.

I´m at an internet cafe in town. This is a small town, which you can only reach by train. We took the train here yesterday afternoon, and are leaving later today. To get to Machu Picchu, you take a bus up a steep set of switchbacks. The road is dirt and about the right size for one way… but there are lots of buses going up and down, so you have to continually pass the other buses. A bit scary at first, but I got used to it.

We had met a nice couple from New York, and decided to share a guide with them for the first afternoon at Machu Picchu. The guide showed us around for a 4-hour tour. He gave us a lot of information about what the different ruins are and theories about their uses.

The second day at Machu Picchu, Ben and I decided to join the other ambitious tourists and get up early to see the sun rise on Machu Picchu. We woke at 4:30am, took the bus up, and got to the site around 6 or 6:30am. Machu Picchu was covered in clouds, and I was prepared to not see the sun rise onto the site at all (I heard that sometimes the clouds don´t rise until 9am or so). But these clouds just disappeared after about 10 minutes. Small wispy clouds would form off and on and sort of travel up and over Machu Picchu. It was very cool.

The sun didn´t come over the mountains to shine onto Machu Picchu until about 7am. Once it did it lit up the whole site and was beautiful. We then made our way across the ruins to the mountain at the other side (the taller one in all the photos). It is called Wayna Picchu (or Huayna Picchu, everything here has 3 names, the Inca name, Spanish name, and English name!). We hiked to the top of it, via lots of steep inca stairs. There´s a few inca buildings, walls, and terraces at the top. And the view is amazing. It was a lot of work, especially at 8,000+ feet, but totally worth it.

That´s all for now. I´m working on posting a few photos, hopefully that´ll work. Now we´re off to the Sacred Valley for 3 days for more sightseeing and also some mountain biking!

Here are some photos uploaded from Aguas Calientes!

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