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Machu Picchu! June 13, 2012

Posted by bethcarpenter in Travel Log.
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Over the weekend, we finally were scheduled to go to Machu Picchu–one of the seven new wonders of the world!

We began our trip early on Saturday morning at 5 AM, taking a bus to Ollantutamba.  Here we boarded a train for a three-hour trip through the mountains to the small town of Agua Calientes, situated at the base of the mountain that holds Machu Picchu.

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After a fantastic Peruvian buffet lunch at a chic little restaurant in Agua Calientes, we all boarded the bus that would take us up the winding dirt road to the top of the mountain and Machu Picchu!

I could hardly believe my eyes when we finally came to the very site I had seen for six years in my Spanish textbook.  Words or pictures cannot do Machu Picchu justice; not only are the ruins incredible, but the surrounding mountain ranges are simply breathtaking.  (Especially Mount Huaynapichu, present in the background of nearly every photo of the site.)

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After hundreds of photos and a guided tour of the site, we descended back down to the mountain to visit the hot springs and eat dinner, another amazing three-course meal that was a fusion of Peruvian-French cuisine.  I returned to the hotel to enjoy a long, hot shower and the fluffiest pillow I have seen in over a month abroad.

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The next day, we woke up at 6 AM to have a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before we departed at 7 AM to return to Machu Picchu.  With three hours on our own, we took what seemed to be thousands of photos and toured the entire ruins, paying special attention to the llamas that freely graze in the middle of the site.  At 10 AM, our entire group lined up to sign the registry to embark on our ascent of Mount Huaynapichu, an hour-long hike up thousands and thousands of the steepest stairs I have ever seen in my life.

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The hike was well worth the view that greeted us when we finally made it to the top of the mountain!

Our group returned to Agua Calientes for a leisurely buffet lunch and an early afternoon of relaxing in a restaurant, sipping drinks and scrolling through our photos, before we headed back to the hotel to pick up our bags and head to the train station to return to Cusco.  It was a spectacular weekend!

 

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Comments»

1. gtpspdirector - June 13, 2012

Machu Picchu is one of the places on earth I can count on one hand that I most want to visit. Your reference to viewing it in your Spanish textbook resonated with me, because that’s the same place I continually felt compelled to visit. So glad you are enjoying your time in SA.


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