04.12.2014 - 05.12.2014 24 °C
Just like the Salt Flats in Bolivia, Machu Pichu is the big attraction for Peru.
I'm booked on a 2 day tour staring with the Secret Valley and the town of Pisac with more Inca ruins and a mountain full of holes which are the burial areas where bones and mummies have been found. The Wari were here in the 10th century and started the construction and the Incas arrived in the 12th century and we can see the difference in the the materials and technique used in the construction.
Today, In terms of agriculture, potatoes are grown at altitude (they have 400 types of potatoes) while corn is grown in the valleys. Their corn is very large, about 4 times the size of ours.
Then the town of Ollantaytambo, a small village at the foot of a mountain and dominated by 2 Inca ruin sites. Some impressive terraces again with a ceremonial temple at the top.
From Ollantaytambo I take the Inca train for a 2 hour journey along the river with huge mountains all around to the town of Aguas Calientes where I spend the night.
Day 2 - Machu Piccu
Up at 4.15 for breakfast and then half hour bus to MP where we arrive for 6.30. We have a 2 hour guided tour in English and then are left free. Thanks to its unique location, the site was not found by the Spanish and was only discovered at the beginning of the 20th century. Therefore, 80% of the site is original which is quite impressive. It is not known why the city was abandoned and when. In its days, it is thought that around 500 people lived there. It will have taken millions of workers 50 years to build. These workers came on a rotation system.
Machu Piccu dates back to the 15th century and is located at 2430 above sea level above the Urubamba river. The terraces are used not only for agriculture but also as foundations for the city. The irrigation system is very sophisticated using stone channels which prevents flooding whilst watering the crops and thanks to the way it is built (like the pyramids) the city has resisted to hearthquakes
At 10am I'm booked to climb Wayna Piccu, a 200m climb on mainly rock steps in some areas totally vertical. I'm glad I've done quite a bit of trekking by now so I find it ok. On top we are at 2700m above sea level.