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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

16 June 2011

Was it worth it?

15th June 2011


Yes.

It was definitely worth getting up at 4:30 in the morning to wait in line for one of the first coaches to take visitors up the mountain, because only that way do you get to look

out over the ruins before they are scattered with roving tour groups. It was worth putting up with Aguas Calientes yesterday to be in a position to get up at 4:30. It was also well worth climbing up the innumerable steps to Wayna Picchu to get a completely unforgettable view. It was even worth buying an overpriced little guidebook in Aguas which had the most awful English translation, because at least it had a map of the site and some context – at Machu Picchu itself you are given absolutely nothing for your expensive entry fee, and the site has no signs, maps or information plaques at all.

But I’m sure there’s nowhere in the world where such an extensive and intriguing archaeological site has such a breathtaking and beautiful setting. Angkor in Cambodia was brilliant for just exploring around, poking into each crumbling temple and seeing what’s around the corner. Machu Picchu has a lot to explore, but it’s much more a place for just sitting down a while and marvelling at the astonishing achievement of the Incas here.

By 10am there were people everywhere, so it was good to have the opportunity to climb Wayna Picchu and see the site from another angle. Wayna Picchu is the tall peak you can see above Machu Picchu in all the pictures. It really is that steep, and yet the Incas stuck some more agricultural terraces and buildings atop it. The climb takes an hour, although of course Maureen insisted on seeing how many people she could overtake and we did it in thirty-five minutes dead. Well, almost dead. I’ve no idea how I survived, it really is stone steps all the way. Why did the Incas build tiny agricultural terraces barely wide enough for two rows of onions at the top of a knife-edge mountain peak? I haven’t the slightest clue, and no-one else is really sure either. My theory is that they were all high on coca, and I haven’t heard a better one.

Machu Picchu will definitely be one of the highlights of our trip around the world. If you get the opportunity, it really is a must-see unlike any other. Having been to Lhasa, Angkor, Rio, Rome and Uluru I reckon I could almost count myself qualified to say so. ; )


One Response to “Was it worth it?”

  1. Nessa says:

    Happy birthday, Matt! Lots of love from Nessa and Tim xxx

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