Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cusco. Day 2.

Anyway, continuing with the story...

On our arrival in Cusco we found out that we had a change in our itinerary, and that our visits to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu were being switched and that, as a result, we'd be visiting the latter on our second day and spending that night in Aguas Calientes.

Countryside on between Cusco and the Sacred Valley

So, on our second morning in Navel of the World, we took off toward Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley, where we would board the train toward Machu Picchu.

Betticha eating some of the famed Cusco corn
while waiting for the train

Boarding the train in Ollantaytambo

The train ride from Ollantaytambo is a three and half hour affair, descending from the Inca heartland down to the forests of the eastern slopes of the Andes. Once in Aguas Calientes, there follows a twenty-minute bus ride up a switchback mountain road to the ruins.

Once there, it took us a while to sort ourselves out, and get all of our names on our entrance tickes -something that we should have been told to do earlier since, as it was, we had only just over two hours left to visit the site.

Having got all that sorted out, we entered and after a short walk, caught our first close-up view of the citadel, with Huayna Picchu peak in the background.

From there, we made a climb that everyone found grueling to reach the base of the Guard House, which used to control passage from the Inca Trail into the citadel.

The Guard House

There we were rewarded for our efforts by one of the best views to be had in Machu Picchu:

No! Not that one!

The view from the base of the Guard House platform
Counterclockwise from the small peak at left: Intihuatana complex, Conjunto 1, Sun Temple (all in the Western Urban Sector), Condor Temple complex, 3 Doorways Complex (all in Eastern Urban Sector). Between the two urban sectors lies the Sacred Plaza, and in back is Huayna Picchu peak.

As the guide was going slowly, in part due to having to explain everything in two languages, I got impatient and went ahead, with Susana choosing to join me. As I knew enough about the site to know what I was looking at, I was able to guide Susa and I about the ruins and explain to her what was what. By moving faster than the guided tours along routes of our choosing, we were often able to have parts of the complex almost to ourselves.

Conjunto 1 in the Western Urban Sector.
The Main Gate is at left foreground, and the Intihuatana complex at top left.

The main entrance to the citadel

Private fountain in the Royal Enclosures in Conjunto 1

The Torreón (Tower), or Temple of the Sun, viewed from Conjunto 1

The Torreón

The Torreón and andenes (terraces) of the Lower Agricultural Sector,
with the Guard House at top

The "Artisans' Wall" in the Eastern Urban Sector

The "Artisans' Wall"

The Western Sector, viewed from the base of the Artisans' Wall

Temple of the Condor.
in situ rock has been carved with a condor head, and a semicircle of white stone added to form the condor's ruff. The V-shaped rock formation in the background forms the birds' outstretched wings.

A vizcacha among the ruins

Storehouses and dwellings beside the Lower Agricultural Sector

Susana and Nico near the Intihuatana

Structures atop Huayna Picchu


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

vamos a ver si sale. Fotos excelentes solo que no sale mi enanita, ya pe