Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Machu Picchu -- May 2001

This is a departure from my usual posts-- it's a travelogue. Today I listened to an interview on CBC Radio about the 100th Anniversary of the finding of Machu Picchu by the American archaeologist Hiram Bingham.

It brought back wonderful memories of my trip there in 2001. If I had to choose the "most special place" I've ever been, it would be Machu Picchu. It doesn't affect everyone in the same way (does anywhere?) but I was mesmerized. So in my case, I agree with this quote from Frommer's. (Click on it to enlarge it.)

Some may see it as just some ruins high in the Andes but it took my breath away-- figuratively and literally. I had problems with altitude sickness. And tho I bought some coca leaves to chew to help with it, they didn't seem to help me.

This image is from National Geographic. You have to be in a helicopter to get this view of course but it gives an excellent overall view of Machu Picchu and the Urubumba River that curls around it. The train ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu follows the Urubumba for part of the trip.

I stayed in Cusco.

It was in my bachelor days so I always stayed in '0-star' hotels or a room I found on-line before I went. This was a very comfortable hostel I stayed in this time. I took my star charts with me (astronomy is another of my hobbies) and I sat up on the roof a few nights and had spectacular views of the southern stars & constellations.

The cafe in the hostel where I met with other travelers.

Simple rooms but more than enough for me. No radio, no TV-- it was wonderful.

In Cusco, they've left some of the foundation walls that the Incas built, and just built modern buildings on them. The largest stone in this wall is a famous one that they show all the tourists. It has 12 sides. Some sides are very small and hard to see in this image. I thought I had a close-up of just the 12-sided one but I couldn't find it.



Machu Picchu is definitely an instance where pictures can't do it justice. Maybe IMAX could but small images are pitifully inadequate for the task.

Terraces are on all the slopes, none were too steep for the Incas it would seem.

It's the location, and the feeling that gripped me as I looked out on it that put me in awe. It's a very special place. 

The Incas had a complex system of channels and pipes to feed the rain water to the terraces.

There were 13 hairpin turns for the bus to navigate to Machu Picchu from the small town of Agua Calientes at the foot of the mountain.

When we left on the bus to go back down the mountain, this young boy ran down the mountain cutting across the hairpin turns so he could easily stay ahead of the bus and meet us at 3 or 4 spots on the way down with his big grin & a hearty wave. To no one's surprise, he boarded the bus at the bottom and came down the aisle with a big smile and small pouch for tips. You'd have to be a real tightwad not to give him something. A blurred shot but the only one I got.

When we were listening to the broadcast Jane said she'd like to see it so that's all I needed to hear. We'll be going to Machu Picchu sometime in the future, sooner rather than later I hope.

- fini -


At 28 October 2011 at 01:00 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

where did you find this quote? the one from frommer's i'd like to cite it


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