The drop to Urubamba River
Our first view from the west at a ruin of an Inca rest station. The larger mountains over the top of the arch dwarf Mach Picchu, on the darker ridge over the heads of my fellow travellers.
Machu Picchu is on the darker ridge just above the green of the foreground.
Pepe shows us an "uncovered" wall. Machu Pichhu was hidden by vegetation much worse than this!
Yep: the trails were steep and densely-vegetated!
View from the eastern portal known as the Sun Gate.
Amazing terracing (near the Sun Gate).
Sun Gate trail to Machu Picchu (showing Hiram Bingham "Highway" switchbacks on the right).
Stonework with no mortar - truly impressive & sophisticated engineering.
View through a mortared window (mortar was sometimes used in less regal or sacred places).
Typical Incan doorway at the royal residence– stronger because it’s wider at the bottom than at the top.
Llamas and stone. Beautiful.
How can anyone not love a place surrounded by place names like Vilcabama and Urubamba and Salkantay. Indeed, the name “Machu Picchu” itself rolls off the tongue in such tantalizing fashion that it’s easy to like even before you know how amazing it is. It’s the “lost city of the Incas” which, as with the city of Sleeping Beauty, was covered by dense vegetation for centuries before being rediscovered.
In the case of Machu Picchu, rediscovery had to wait from around 1530 until July 24, 1911, when American archeologist Hiram Bingham was snooping around those dense, green mountains looking for something else. (Technically, he didn’t “discover” it—the locals knew something was there and, indeed, farmed some of Machu Picchu’s terraces. But Bingham, through an April, 1913 article in National Geographic, brought the site to the world stage, making it now the most-visited tourist destination in South America.) Continue reading »