Back in Cusco

Last night we returned from Aguas Calientes in time for dinner, and I turned in early.  We left Cusco Sunday morning at 3:30 AM (!) and took a ride in a freezing cold bus to Ollantaytambo, where we got on a freezing cold train and rode down the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu.  After a very brief stop to drop stuff off, we took a warmer bus up the mountain, and spent the morning touring the city of Machu Picchu. 

It´s one of those iconic places that, when you see it in person, doesn´t quite seem real, because you´ve seen so many pictures of it.  It looks like the pictures, and it´s pretty astonishing. 

After the tour we went back down and checked into the hotel, and then the Hills and I took the bus back up and spent some time exploring on our own.  We hiked to the Inca Bridge, which is about a mile away on an easy trail lined with orchids, wild begonias, and even some Cuphea plants.  You come to a barrier at the end of the trail, where clearly an avalanche has knocked out the next bit.  Then if you look ahead a hundred yards or so you can see where the trail crosses a vertical rock face.  The Incas built up a stone wall to walk on, but there´s a gap spanned by a couple of planks.  That´s not all that impressive until you ask yourself where that path was headed.

A little further on is a much larger vertical rock face — at least 500 feet tall — and across the middle of it is a little green line.   The path went right across that face, hundreds of feet up and about 2 feet wide.  I imagine leading a llama loaded with potatoes along that path and it makes my palms sweat just thinking about it.  Those people had no fear of heights at all.

We had another full day at Machu Picchu, and I´ll write more when I get back.  This keyboard is driving me nuts. 

4 Responses to “Back in Cusco”

  1. sophie says:

    The apostrophe is next to the 0.

  2. K says:

    Ramparts on castles give me that feeling, too. And they’re not nearly so high up. (Actually, Castle Rock in the middle of Edinburgh would give me that feeling too if I wasn’t so used to it. I can’t imagine how on earth they built bits of the castle walls, except by hanging out over a sheer drop.)

    Ah, unfamiliar keyboards. I eventually got good at typing on an AZERTY keyboard while in France, and then got home to find I could no longer touchtype on QWERTY. It took me longer to adjust the second time.

    I’m benignly jealous of you for getting to go to South America. I look forward to seeing some pics when you get back – although I’ll admit to a selfish hope that if you do eat guinea pig, you won’t post pics of it…

  3. Allen says:

    Sorry, K. The guinea pig has been photographed. I had only a taste, and I have to say that it´s not that great.

  4. K says:

    That’s OK; I gather it’s just one of those things one does in Peru.

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