Our 3rd Anniversary at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu was the second modern wonder of the world on our itinerary, and we wondered how it would compare to the Taj Mahal.  They were built about a century apart, we took a train to get to both, and woke up before dawn at each to “beat the crowds” and see their true majesty.  Well, it turns out that Machu Picchu is also worth the trouble.  Now we know why we spent hours staring at its poster in Spanish class.  Machu Picchu’s setting is breathtaking; it is surrounded by steep cliffs on all sides except for the traditional “sun gate” entrance notch.  It’s no wonder that this city was only re-discovered in 1911.  The ruins themselves, built entirely out of stone with exacting masonry, are flawless.  They made us realize what a tragedy the Spanish conquest truly was for the Inca civilization.

After a few hours touring the citadel, snapping pictures of the llamas and eating our lunch, we had plenty of day left, so we decided to conquer Mount Machu Picchu, the mountain that rises behind the ruins.  (Not the oval shaped one you see in the pictures, that’s Waynu Picchu, this one is much taller!)  These Incans and their modern Peruvian descendents don’t seem to believe in switchbacks.  The trail was basically two hours of windy and broken climbing (at altitude) through rock staircases either cut or laid into the mountain.  As we were climbing we could see the multi-color Cuzco flag waving, and I had to convince Sarah not to look up a few times so as not to be discouraged at our slow progress.  The effort was worth it though, and from the top not only could we see the ruins from a birds-eye view but the surroundings of Machu Picchu as well.  We could see the Urubamba river winding around the ruins, the Inca trail climbing around the valley and through the sun gate, snowy peaks in the distance, and the railroad and town of Aguas Calientes, the modern approach to Machu Picchu.  It was magical to finally live those hours spent daydreaming in Spanish class and to celebrate our third wedding anniversary together.

–Gabe

2 comments to Our 3rd Anniversary at Machu Picchu

  • Matt M.

    Those pictures are awesome! Thanks a lot…now I’ve got to add yet another location to my long list of places to visit. It’s tough life, as you know, but someone’s got to do it. Scratch that, everyone should do it. :)

  • Xu Yang

    Oh man that’s the place I saw in a History Channel program. Always dreamed of going to places like that and find some ancient treasures :-)

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