to South America and beyond

10.17.2006

Machu Picchu

"The lost city of the Incas rose up out of the mist as I ascended to the watchman´s tower . . . " or something like that. Although many have tried, I don´t think words could ever capture the feeling of encountering Machu Picchu. Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet whose house I recently visited, came closest:

"Machu Picchu is a trip to the serenity of the soul, to the eternal fusion with the cosmos, there we feel our own fragility. It is one of the greatest marvels of South America. A resting place of butterflies at the epicenter of the great circle of life. One more miracle."

Woke up at 5:00 a.m. to catch the first bus up a series of swithbacks leading to Machu Picchu. We arrived at 5:55 and waited with the excitement of children standing in line for Disneyland until the gates opened (finally!) at 6:00. There were only about 20 or 30 of us that came in right at 6:00 and we were treated to an untainted view of the ruins.

And here´s the coveted shot: a view of the site containing no tourists.

Dammit! I didn´t see that person there at the bottom. I can photoshop that out, right?

Moving on. There are about a thousand of the classic "me in front of stuff" pics of Machu Picchu. I will subject you to only one.

Below is a shot from the watchman´s tower, near the entrance to the site. This is what the Incan watchman would have seen.


But this, this is truly my prize photo (Michelle and Sarah, I hope you´re paying attention, cause this is for you): Llamas!!


Once again, even closer.


Yes, Peru´s most iconic images, llamas and Machu Picchu. Hard to get one of those buggers to stand still for you though.


Anyway, before I wandered through the ruins for hours, there was a mountain to be conquered. The one standing behind Machu Picchu, Waynapicchu, was a short but steep climb to the top.


Personally, I think the views of the ruins were much better from here.


I don´t have much to say about Machu Picchu because, as previously stated, words wouldn´t suffice. There was one interesting factoid that I think is worth sharing though. There is a monument in the center of the ruins known as Intihuatana, which was aligned perfectly to mark the solstices and is thought to have served as a calendar for the Incas. Was. A few years back, the beer company Cusqueña filmed a commercial at Machu Picchu (so many things wrong with that statement already) and KNOCKED A CHIP OFF OF THE MONUMENT with one of their pieces of equipment. It no longer aligns correctly with the solstices.

How´d you like to be that guy?

1 Comments:

Blogger KIM said...

Oh My Gosh, I've been waiting for your story on this part of Peru. You took some fantastic pictures.
Like your funny comment about the
one person in your tourist free shot. I read some of the history real quick. I was wondering about
the llamas, if they were wild or
some shepherds.
Love, Mom

7:52 PM

 

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