Words can ´t really do the vision justice. As one walks into the main entrance the view of the site is amazing, mindblowing, I can ´t imagine what it must be like to see it through the Sun Gate at sunrise. That ´s right, I didn ´t walk the Inca Trail because my knees are shot and I didn ´t relish the experience of crying to the guide that I wanted a little Peruvian porter to carry me down the hill. This good sense was reinforced when I saw the trail curving down the side of the mountain toward the city site. If this was the last bit (said to be relatively easy) how difficult are the first two days ? Rosemary said she would have walked the shortened version (the last two days) had we discussed it as an option but neither of us has to prove anything these days, and that seems to me the major motivation for those semi-couch potatoes that walk down the last steps white faced and breathless.
We took the Backpackers train from Cusco to Macchu Piccu Peublo (formerly known as Aguas Caliente), hit the ´ba±os caliente ´and stayed at a new hostel at the top of the main street. The town is a bit of a construction site at the moment with considerable debate about whether the number of tourists should be curtialed. I suspect that the local authorities will have little say as the site is the major cash cow of Peruvian tourism with 85% of the income flowing directly to the Government in Lima. I ´ll leave it to your imagination where the money goes from there.
Maccu Picchu is really a misnomer, nobody really knows what the Inca name of the site was, the Incas didn ´t leave written records and the Spanish never found the site, that was left to a Yale scientist, Hiram Bingam, who, in 1911 stumbled on the site looking for Vilcabamba, the REAL lost city of the Incas. The reason why it ´s (undeserved) significance is much greater than Cusco stems from the fact that it sat unchanged and covered in jungle for 400 years while Cusco was smashed down to the foundations and reconstructed in the image of a 16th century Spanish city. So, to be fair, more time should be spent winkling out the beauties in Cusco, but it ´s the overwhelming nature of Macchu Picchu that assaults the senses.
Until now I thought that nothing could match the majesty of Angkor and the intricasy of Borabodur, but this place has to be seen to be believed. It ´s hard to imagine that while the majority of our ancestors were running around with woad on their faces and covered in animal skins the beginnings of the precolumbian cultures that flowered into the Inca culture produced the magnificent ceramics, art and architecture.