Machu Picchu

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Hard to find words to describe places like Machu Picchu. Go see!

When we started planning our journey Machu Picchu (MP) was high up on the wish list. That is why we chose Peru as one of our South American destinations. The journey to MP started with a very beautiful  train ride from Olleantaytambo to the little village, Agua Calientes, on the foot of Machu Picchu. The train ride went trough the Sacred Valley and was a one and a half hour scenic train ride. It was not so easy to get a decent photo as the train was moving.  Agua Calientes is only serving as a tourist village, with a lot of hotels and restaurants. Still it is rather cozy. We stayed at a hotel close to the train station, and close to town. In the evening we went swimming in the hot springs in Agua Calientes. Our guide Haime picked us up at the hotel at 06.00 so we could be at Machu Picchu at sunrise. From Agua Calientes there are shuttle busses going up a steep serpent road to Machu Picchu. That is if you are not walking the Inca trail. Haime took us up high over MP to have the best spot for taking pictures as the sun rose over the mountains and lit up the Inca ruins. A magnificent view from where we stood. While we waited for the sun to come up. Haime told us what the different buildings in the ruins had served as. Really amazing how the Incas manage to build the city high up in the mountains with irrigation systems and water supply to the city.

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Train ride trough Urubamba Valley.

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Hot springs in Agua Calientes.

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Lucas and Bos in the hot springs.

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The village of Agua Calientes.

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Waiting for sun rise.

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At 06.50 the sun comes over the mountains.

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The Inca placed the city so it would get the first sunshine in the morning.

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Some of the terraces used for farming.

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The houses where the farmers lived.

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Farmers houses.

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Lucas liked the lamas that grazed between the ruins.

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They were quite friendly.

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Badboy Chinchilla

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And a hummingbird.

It is always harder to write about places that makes an impression on  you. You feel that words do not describe the experience . Extra hard when you write in you second language.. Our best advise is to go see for yourself. Machu Picchu was magnificent!!

Sacred Valley

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The last two days we have been spending in the Urubamba Valley and the surroundings, the valley is also known as the Sacred Valley and is in the heartland of the Inca Empire. The valley was appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities. It was one of the empire’s main points for the extraction of natural wealth, and one of the most important areas for maize production in Peru northwards from Pisac. (Wikipedia)

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The Sacred Valley

It is winter in the Andes and we had to buy some more winter clothes. The temperature drop below zero in the evenings. Yesterday we went for a full day of sightseeing with a guide and a driver. First stop was the Inca ruins of Olleantaytambo.

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At the top of the ruins.

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Lucas orked as a photographer.

Ollantaytambo is a town and an Inca archaeological site in southern Peru some 60 kilometers northwest of the city of Cusco. It is located at an altitude of 2,792 meters (9,160 feet) above sea level in the district of Ollantaytambo, province of Urubamba, Cusco region. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region, built the town and a ceremonial center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru it served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance. Nowadays it is an important tourist attraction on account of its Inca buildings and as one of the most common starting points for the three-day, four-night hike known as the Inca Trail.(Wikipedia)

Next stop was at the outlook over Sacred Vally were the guide explained why it was called the Sacred Valley and what they grew there.

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At the outlook

Our driver was on the fast and furious side, so Lucas got a bit carsick. To cure his carsickness we mad a stop at one of the native houses, so he could have some herbal tea. (It was a house where the natives showed the tourist how they made their handicraft. Along with the tea we got a demonstration on how they treated the alpaca wool. Some of us even got a dance lesson.

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They used lice from the cactus to make red color.

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Different colors from the nature.


Bos got a dance lesson.

Last stop before lunch was Chinchero, the place became part of a higher-rank Inkan administration centre. It is located on an Andean plain at an elevation of 3762 m and 65 km from Ayacucho. During colonial time the Spanish tore down the Inca buildings and set up a Catholic church there. The foundation of the church is still original from the Inca period. Walking stairs in an altitude of 3762 m gets your hart pumping..

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The square of Chinchero.

Last stop of the day was the Inca ruins of Pisac. The Inca constructed agricultural terraces on the steep hillside, which are still in use today. They created the terraces by hauling richer topsoil by hand from the lower lands. The terraces enabled the production of surplus food, more than would normally be possible at altitudes as high as 3352 m.With military, religious, and agricultural structures, the site served at least a triple purpose. Researchers believe that Písac defended the southern entrance to the Sacred Valley, while Choquequirao defended the western entrance, and the fortress at Ollantaytambo the northern. Inca Pisac controlled a route which connected the Inca Empire with the border of the rain forest.(Wikipedia)

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The terrasses of Pisco.

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Cold at the top.

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5 year old girl who wanted money to take her picture.

Our hotel the last two nights is located in Urubamba Valley, San Augustin Urubamba is a very nice hotel with a beautiful garden. The day we arrived we walked in to the center of Urubamba to see the market.

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San Augustin Hotel

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Fruitmarket in Urubamba.

Next on our itinerary is a train ride to Aguas Calientes close to Machu Picchu. Tomorrow at dawn we will ride a bus up to Machu Picchu with a guide. Have a nice day!