Thursday, February 27, 2014

Day 13 in Peru: Machu Picchu visit

   The highlight of our extended stay in Peru began today as we departed 
from the town of Aquas Calientes. This required us to board a small 
bus that would take us on a 20 minute ride that would take us on a one 
lane gravel road filled with 13 switchbacks and hairpin turns.

Our very efficient tour guide from Yampu Tours then gave us a walking 
tour of this New 7 Wonders of the World Machu Picchu. This Inca 
settlement was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. The city was 
abandoned by the Inca's and fortunate for us was not discovered
by the Spanish in the 1550's because they were under orders to destroy 
the Inca villages. It was estimated that this city was built in the 
1400's over a time frame of about 70 years.

         The engineer in the group Travis Bunde was always trying to figure 
out how they cut and moved the stones.                   The cowboy in 
the group Travis Johnson couldn't believe he was in a place like this.

The feat of taking a mountain top and transforming it into a city 
with temples, terraces for raising crops, storehouses and buildings 
was amazing to all of us.

After the main tour a group of us took the trail to the Sun Gate. 
This was a grueling hour long hike up a steeper and rougher trail but 
the views made it well worth the effort.
    It was hard to leave this beautiful place in the clouds, but we were 
all up to another adventure so it was back to the town of Aquas 
Calientes for lunch via bus. Then Peru rail to Ollantayambo and a bus 
to Cusco for our overnight stays there.

Submitted by Jeff Thompson