A Wonder: photo blog

View across Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate

View across Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate

The great day finally arrived and after all the palaver, we were hostelled in Aguascalientes, at the foot of the Wonder that is Machu Picchu. This was my second visit, lucky me!

Early start

Early start

Despite being a place of spiritual pilgrimage for many, for the rest, the journey brings  out so much testosterone that I’ve had to shave for the past week. A four a.m. start kicks off the day for those in the race to see the sun rise from the top of the mountain. For me, stymied in my previous attempt, the determination to see the sun rise from the Inti Punku or Sun Gate put the wind in my heels.

The iconic shot

The iconic shot

I made it to the top in the early morning light, despite a ten minute queue at the bridge checkpoint (bottom of the mountain) and a twenty minute  queue at the entry point at the top. It may sound crazy to leap out of bed at 4am to undertake an hour’s hike up a vertical route, but clearly we were not alone.

Path to the Sun Gate

Path to the Sun Gate

Only a quick breather at the top to take in the majesty and splendour of the ancient citadel with its imposing background, Wayna Picchu, and I was off again, sprinting for the Sun Gate in an attempt to beat the sun over the mountains.

Sun rise over the Sun Gate

Sun rise over the Sun Gate

Sun rise over Machu Picchu

Sun rise over Machu Picchu

Llama surprise!

Llama surprise!

                          

After a dreamy time watching the sun clear the mountains, catching my breath after the energetic, early morning hike, and pondering the mysterious ways of the Incas and their peculiar penchant for extremely long walks through inhospitable, mostly inaccessible landscapes, it was time to head back for a long walk around the ruined buildings and temples.

Ruins

Ruins

The Three Doorways

The Three Doorways

Inca mountain-harmonising architecture

Inca mountain-harmonising architecture

The site is as amazing as oft-claimed. I had thought to dismiss it as another tourist-trap nonsense for some time before I finally made my pilgrimage last October, but seeing it the first time quashed that idea, and I have merrily raved about its wonder and majesty ever since. It is a breathtaking thing to finally stride out on to the terraces to be presented by that famous vista. However, I think the journey itself is at least as special. Firstly, there is the laborious process of getting hold of your tickets and lining up all the corresponding dominoes, as painfully documented in my last post. Then, as I have chosen to do on both occasions, the adrenaline rush of the exhilarating early rise and walk to the top. Like pioneers scaling Everest for the first time, or adventurers wading in to the jungle in search of a lost city, the sight of a valley full of stars above you and the smell of the waking forest sets the scene at the start of the day. And I am firmly convinced, second time around, that the mere act of hiking vertically upwards for one full hour means you’re as high as a kite when you finally reach the top, hence the fireworks going off in your brain when you finally clap eyes on the ruins. The trek to the Sun Gate is the cherry on top. Waving cheery hellos to the weary souls who’ve just spent four whole days hiking the Inca Trail, hunkering down to watch the sun rise over the mountains. Yes, I’m going to say it, I’m going to drop the S-bomb: its a bit of a spiritual experience, and I think I like it.

In all its glory

In all its glory

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mirtha
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 20:24:06

    You should try to post one of the photo to National Geographic contest for global Diversity. You can find it in fb. cheers:)

    Like

    Reply

  2. Little you
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 05:37:20

    Stupid Llama. I bet it doesn’t even have nunchuck skills. Looks like a beautiful holiday was had xxx

    Like

    Reply

  3. White Pearl
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 11:29:37

    Very Beautiful and Fresh Photos !

    Like

    Reply

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