Another 4:00am alarm although we didn’t jump out of bed until 4:30am. Hopefully this is the last super early morning this trip!
Christophe was waiting to make our eggs for breakfast and we ate as much as we could manage this early in the day. We walked up to the bus station for Machu Picchu and to our surprise there were at least 300 people ahead of us in line! Who would have thought so many people would be up this early.
I waited in line to purchase the bus tickets and then found out that the entrance tickets to Machu Picchu had to be bought here so spent another 20 minutes in line for those. By 6:05am we were settled on to the bus and on our way up the 400m, 75 degree slope. We snaked up the hill one hairpin turn after another, moving over on turnouts to avoid oncoming buses. Hats off to those drivers! At least the trees have grown since I was here 30 years ago so the view downwards wasn’t quite as daunting.
We arrived at the entrance gate approximately 30 minutes later only to encounter yet another line to show our entrance tickets. Due to it being a Sunday and Christmas break there were crowds of local people as well as tourists which made picture taking and getting around the ruins a challenge to say the least. Honestly it felt like Disneyland on a busy day which took away from the magnificence of the ruins. Eventually it quieted a bit and we took our time walking around and taking countless photos.
The Inca Ruins look very different from my first visit. We found a very small portion of the original overgrown ruins which look so rugged and ancient in comparison to the new, clean reconstruction. They have done a tremendous amount of work to recreate this wonderful old civilization.
As early as 1874 the Peruvian government had cartographer Herman Gohring map the region and the names Machu Picchu (local farmers called it old mountain in Quecha) and Wayna Picchu were given to the site. Several other explorers would find Machu Picchu before American Hiram Bingham’s rediscovery in 1911.
Bingham travelled to South America originally to study the military campaigns of Simon Bolivar. During his time here, he took an interest in the Incan culture and through a series of events was told about the ruins at the top of Machu Picchu. When he reached the site of the ruins he found two families living and farming on the steep side of the mountain, and it was one of their children that led him into the archaeological remains.
On July 24, 1911 they arrived at the Royal Tomb, Principle Temple, and Temple of the Three Widows. Since then this date is used as the Day of the Scientific Discovery of Machupicchu. Hmmmm seems to me that Gohring should receive the credit back in 1874!
By 11:00am we had our fill, and took the bus back into the town of Aguas Calientes. We went right to Totos House Restaurant for a bite to eat. The buffet wasn’t ready for another hour so we enjoyed lattes while sitting overlooking the river on one side and next to a lovely wood fireplace/oven on the other side. It hadn’t started the daily rains as yet however there was still a chill in the air.
Once ready, we enjoyed the buffet and decided that was the meal for the balance of the day. Fero went back to the hotel and I stayed drinking tea and catching up on my blog. The balance of the day was spent meandering the small village and relaxing.
We turned in early as it has been a long day.