Monday, July 5, 2010

Peru -- by Nathan (part 2)

Monday the 21st was Machu Picchu day. The train that normally travels from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (the town at the base of Machu Picchu) is out of service due to heavy flooding and landslides in February and March. Instead, the company that owns the rails (Perurail) has employed some bus drivers to depart from the Cusco train station and drive to the station that lies about 12 miles west of Ollantaytambo (a small town northwest of Cusco). From there, we boarded the train to Machu Picchu. The best part about the train ride was we were in the front row of the first train car. We looked directly out of the windshield, as it were, and had no obstacles (ie other train cars) to obstruct our view of the scenery ahead of us.

Ruins visible from the train on the way to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

We spent all day here. The park is enormous with endless nooks and crannies to be explored. We explored them all. It seemed most of the tourists kept to the routes the guides took to explain about the most pertinent ruins. Of course, that meant that more than half the site was uncrowded. Ben and I found many peaceful, undisturbed spots and opted to lay down on the terraces and rest at a couple of them.

Soaking in the serenity of Machu Picchu
(Look for a cave located six terraces down from
the uncut boulders in the main Machu Picchu
picture -- that's where this nap occurred.)

The Sun Stone -- a ritualistic stone precisely carved
to keep track of astronomical events,
especially the winter solstice.

Typical building in the ruins. This one has been fitted with a thatched
roof, supposedly in the manner the Incas would have done it.

Main courtyard and residential portion of the ruins.

Several llamas live at Machu Picchu. Here's a baby one :c)

A stone near the Sun Stone carved in the shape of Utah.
There is probably some sort of deep significance, or at the very least coincidence, to this.

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