Mystical Machu Picchu – Day 487
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
The day we have been looking for. Ticking off the 3rd of Lonely Planet’s top 500 places in the world. We weren’t quite expecting such an eeriness of the Mystical Machu Picchu or should this be Mistical!
An early start. 5am for breakfast and half an hour later we were sitting on the bus after again showing our passports and ticket. One of the group couldn’t find hers, she'd left it in the hotel room. I was so impressed with how this was dealt with. No fuss, no panic, and our friend kept calm all through the episode.
The bus journey zigzagged up the mountain, and we finally reached the parking area.
If you are interested in coming to this iconic place, book in plenty of time. The number of visitors is restricted to 2,500 per day, and I overheard someone say that there are not many left for April. Also, there is a new ruling now that you have to enter with a guide. I was glad that all of this was dealt with as part of our retreat; however, tickets (for foreigners) can be purchased through here.
Ok, back to our adventure. We climbed up the steps to a viewpoint and what a view… of white clouds. Oh dear. However, this did add to the mystery of this lost city and gave a very eerie effect. As we stood around, suddenly the clouds parted. What a sight. It was breathtaking. The incredible steep curved shapes of the mountains loomed above the ruins of the Inca city.
Our guide Miguel offered a small ceremony of thanks to the mountains, giving us all three coca leaves. I tucked mine in between some rocks, hoping that they would rot and give goodness back to the land with gratitude.
Eventually, we walked down to the lost city of Machu Picchu. It was magical walking amongst the ruins, down narrow passageways, into previous homes and temples of these incredible people. The precise architecture of large blocks was again, and it shows the wisdom and resources that these ancient civilisations had. As Lori, a lovely lady from our group so rightly said: “Machu Picchu is a great illustration of the unlimited power of the human mind”. Amen to that.
Sadly the rains came down, and gradually the group dispersed. Tim wandered off to explore by himself and eventually from a group of 20, there was just 3 of us with Miguel. I couldn’t get any wetter, so it seemed pointless giving up.
We indeed saw the great water system in action with water rushing down the channels forming waterfalls to the next set of channels, which amazingly kept the pathways clear of flooding. I did hear later that there were some landslides from all the rain resulting in buses not being able to reach Machu Picchu the next day.
The rain eventually got the better of us, so we carefully made our way down to the car park to find the majority of the group waiting. Some had already given up and taken an earlier bus to find a warm café in town. Despite the rain, it really was magical and definitely worth being 3rd on the Lonely Planet’s Top 500 places in the world.
Just as we were getting the train back, the sun decided to peak out. The return journey to Ollantaytambo is definitely worth writing about. After our hot drink and cake, suddenly a person dressed as a brightly glittering costume came out dancing along the central aisle. This was a Saqra, who represented a devilish creature that plays innocent tricks. And of course, who did he choose out of a whole carriage to dance with him? Yes, yours truly. Once he finished, the train assistants then did a fashion show for at least 10 minutes of very lovely Alpaca knitwear. All rather bizarre.
The day ended with a long coach ride from Ollantaytambo back to our hotel in Cusco. I think the giant salad I had the day before was a bad idea, or let’s say my stomach thought it was. I certainly got to know the bathroom exceptionally well in the evening. Charcoal tablets did the trick. Phew! Tim had a nice meal out though. Sensibly he'd eaten hot soup.