Then came the day that all of us had been waiting for. A majority, if not all, of our group had signed up for this trip to see the one and only Machu Picchu and today is the day that we got to see it!!!! We caught a train from Ollantaytambo to the town of Machu Picchu then rode a bus up the mountain and got dropped off right at the front entrance of the historical site. Sure beats hiking for 4 days up a super steep trail! Ok it would have been cool to say I completed the grueling hike, but this way was more enjoyable lets be honest.
The snack on the train was quinoa salad and potatoes and cheese. Sure beats a bag of processed chips or pretzels like you might get in the US .... Obvisouly, I'm in love with Peruvian cuisine, right down to the little snacks you get on the trains. I also wish I could get boxed mango nectar at home! It sure beats apple juice in my book
After passing through passport control we got our first glimpses of the famous mountain (which is actually Wanu Picchu, Machu Picchu is a big mountain opposite of Wanu Picchu that most people don't even take pictures of, I thought that was super interesting) Walking down the stairs to the main entrance of the city I had excited butterflies, flying all around my stomach, I was so excited! I couldn't believe that I was actually about to see the famous wonder of the world with my very own eyes and be enveloped in it's grandeur.
Then we turned the last corner, stepped out onto the terrace, and got our very first few of the famous ruins. What a splendid life memory, it is a gorgeous place. We were lucky enough to have the best weather you could have hoped for when visiting Machu Picchu. Our tour guide has been to Machu Picchu 8 times and he said he has never had weather as wonderful as we experienced. I was so grateful for the clear blue skies and the shining sun, it made the experience that much greater!
Here is the whole group we were traveling with. All of them were such interesting, and nice people from all over the US, it was really awesome to get to know all of them.
Then it was time to go explore!
I went off exploring by myself for a little while and found myself on some of terraces below Wanu Picchu, the view from there was gorgeous. I glanced down at my camera to look at some pictures and when I looked back up I saw this little dude, just soaking up the warm sunshine. I'm glad I was the only person around because I'm sure I looked like a crazy person as I got super excited to see him, I was hoping to run across a viscasha while visiting Machu Picchu and I was ecstatic to see one!
This is the Temple of the Condor. This temple is a breathtaking example of Inca stonemasonry. A natural rock formation began to take shape millions of years ago and the Inca skillfully shaped the rock into the outspread wings of a condor in flight. On the floor of the temple is a rock carved in the shape of the condor's head and neck feathers, completing the figure of a three-dimensional bird.
Another viscasha! I'm convinced this one thought he was blending in with the stones of the wall, he didn't move for hours! They look just like my childhood chinchilla, smudge, that we had as a pet for years.
Then we found all the resident llamas!
This baby llama was only two weeks old, it was adorable to watch it snuggle up with its mama.
This picture would so much cooler if the clouds weren't so low. The rock in the foreground mimics the mountain range behind it! How cool is that! This place is full of amazing stone details like this. Seriously, those Inca's were such amazing and brilliant people.
As the sun was beginning to set, we began the short hike up to the guard house to get the famous view of the entire site.
This is the official entrance to Machu Picchu that would have been used in Incan times
We made it to the top!
I would have loved to have spent hours up at the top such soaking in the moment and enjoying the breathtaking view but we had to leave since they were blowing the whistles notifying us that it was closing time. So we said our goodbyes and made our way back down to the town of Machu Picchu to check into our new hotel.
We stayed at the Inca Terra which was by far my favorite hotel of the entire trip. It is wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous, serene, tranquil, lush, comfortable and all the other positive adjectives you can think of, it's a little slice of heaven on earth.
Our rooms were individual little houses and were the perfect combination of elegant and cozy.
After having a little time to freshen up in our wonderful rooms, we headed down to dinner. The dining room was beautiful with three of the walls being floor to ceiling windows, a picture of it will be in the next post.
Then we spent some time hanging out in the main building of the hotel that housed the lobby and library.
That evening I had a fire built in my personal fire place, it was so wonderful! It warmed my little room up and filled it with the aroma of the sweet wood. Dreamy.
The next day we returned to Machu Picchu to watch the sunrise... stay tuned for those photos!