The city of Cuzco (or Qosq'o in the
Cuzco is the city nearest to Machu Picchu (the
Lost City of the Incas), and the staging point for the journey to
the Sacred City. This is a picture of Plaza de Armes. Every town and
city in Peru has a Plaza de Armes, which is the central town square
surrounded by churches, old magnificent buildings, and a great
fountain in the center. It was build and named by the Spanish
Conquistadores. Cuzco was also the capital of the Inkas (aka Incas),
an empire which lasted several hundred years. Cuzco was taken over
by the Spaniards in 1533. The Spanish churches were build on the
foundations of the Inka temples and palaces (which had been torn
down). The Inkas didn't have a written language so all that is known
about the people is what was written by the Spaniard Conquistadors,
who were led by Pizarro, and the ruins that were left behind.
The Official Entrance to Machu Picchu
However, not for the people who took the 4 day
trek. We entered from the top of the city and had to walk down here
to drop off our backpacks before we were allowed to roam Machu
The Official View
This is the "official" view (as seen on all the
postcards and by all of us there that day). When the clouds finally
lifted, this is the view it left. And it was an ever changing view
as the clouds moved in and through the city. The afternoon was a
glorious blue sun filled day with the heavens so close you could
close your eyes and kiss it. OK, I'm taking a little poetic license
here, but it was very impressive.
The Sacred River, in the Sacred Valley
Everything here is sacred, from the river, to the
city, to the trail. Inka actually means 'royal.'
The Royal Blocks
These stone blocks were cut using hand tools. This
was build over 500 years ago. There were two types of stone
'finishes,' the royal finish and the common finish. It depended on
who the rock was being cut for. If it was for royal use (ie-
temples, royal living accommodations) then the 'royal' cut was used.
You will see that the royal blocks were square and smooth.
There are as many myths about the Inka people as
there are ruins. The Spanish Conquistadors, who defeated the Inka
Empire, never discovered nor took over Machu Picchu. The sacred city
was not rediscovered by gringos until 1911 by Hiram Bingham. The
Inkas did not have a written language, so all that is known about
them comes from the Conquistadors, or the ruins.
The gang in the Lost City of Machu Picchu
These terraces were used for farming on the steep
mountainsides. The Inkas also developed an extensive water delivery
system to keep the crops watered.
The peak in the background (which appears in most
Machu Picchu pictures) is call Huayna Picchu.
Registration Booth to Huayna Picchu
To climb Huayna Picchu, you must first register at
this booth, and then sign out when you descend from the mountain.
Who thought that after 4 days of hiking I would want to climb
another mountain. Mr. Hat convinced me that I should do it.
Which way is up?
It was very simple to get to the top of Huayna
Picchu. Follow the arrows.
The Stairway to Heaven
Had to take a series of steps to get to the top of
Huayna Picchu. These were not the tough ones to climb. There was one
set of steps so steep that you had to literally climb up (and down)
using your hands and feet.
View of Machu Picchu from the sky
This was from the top of Huayna Picchu looking
down on Machu Picchu. This was an awesome view. Only from up here
could you see the expanse that made up Machu Picchu.
Take the Last Train to Cuzco
Wasn't that a Monkee's song? Anyway, there are
only two ways to get to Machu Picchu. Hiking over the mountains (the
4 day trek), or train. There are no roads going to Machu Picchu.
Actually, the train leaves from Aguas Calientes, which is a small
town at the foot of the Sacred city (8 km away from Machu Picchu), along the
There was only one way I was going back to Cuzco from Machu Picchu
after hiking for 4 days, and that was the train. No more walking for
me. The train ride alone is worth the experience.
Que le vaya bien!
Visit the Inka Trail
If you want to see pictures of Mr. Hat's
trip to Hungary and
Budapest, click here.