On the morning we were due to go to Machu Picchu, we got up at 3am.
There’s a whole long reason why we had to be up this early (a huge part of which had to do with needing to climb Huayna Pichhu – the mountain you can see in almost every photo of Machu Picchu) and so at 3.45-ish am (we’d packed the night before) we headed off to the bus stop, stopping by reception at the Inkaterra to pickup the breakfast has made specially for us, as they knew how early we would be leaving.
You have two options for getting to up Machu Picchu – walk for 2 hours or take a 30 minute bus ride.
We thought we had it pretty easy when we decided to go for the bus option. The bus wasn’t even due to leave till 6am so that should have meant a bit more of a lie in. Thing is – you have to queue for hours to catch the bus.
We arrived at 4am to queue for the bus (we just didn’t wanna take any chances, seeing as we’d travelled so far from home to get here). Turns out, even at 4am, the queue was already around the block, several times over! So at 4am, there we were – standing in the heavy pouring rain – waiting for the bus!
Oh yeah, I almost forget to mention the rain! And it wasn’t the kind of rain we get in the UK (and in Europe generally), where it’s ‘heavy’ but in truth, most of the ‘heaviness’ is due to the wind. Oh no – this is the kind of rain where it pelts you like someone is chucking small pebbles at you!
Thankfully, the excitement and anticipation of seeing one of the wonders of the world surpasses anything the rain was throwing at us (almost quite literally too) and so we were all in high spirits the entire time. Plus, we’d brought along waterproof jackets, trousers and shoes just in case and we even sprung for some waterproof ponchos hawkers were selling to people who weren’t quite as prepared for the rain so we were nice and dry. (*We were worried about having explore Machu Picchu in the pouring rain but there was nothing to be done about that).
Almost like magic though, as soon as we arrived at Machu Picchu, the rain immediately stopped and by the time we walked through the gates, the sun has started to peek through the clouds. We almost couldn’t believe our luck!
As soon as you enter, you don’t have to wait long at all to see the citadel.
It’s right there in front of you though you don’t wanna stop here. You wanna climb up a few metres (there’s a path to the left) and it’s from up here, that you get an amazing view of this incredible place.
FYI, it totally lives up to the hype! It’s one of the most photographed places in Peru and one that can sometimes feel like you’ve seen so much of it online that it wouldn’t hold much surprise when you see it in person but boy does it ever!
We must have had so many giggling fits (pausing and trying to put on a straight face for pictures) while taking thousands of (retrospective, very similar) photos!
It was incredible! Even the clouds hover over Huayna Picchu in the distance (a mountain we were due to climb soon) added more to the spectacle!
*Told you I took a lot of very similar photos! 😄
Eventually, we descended into the citadel to get a closer look Machu Picchu.
The fact that people used to live here centuries ago and had built such an intricate and amazing village is absolutely mind-boggling. It’s a reminder how much capacity human being have for greatness – all across the world (not just in the wealthiest places most mainstream movies and films always seem far too eager to portray).
And then there are the potential stories you would find here. You wonder what it must have been like for people living here. Going about their daily business, stopping to chat with neighbours, having fun with their families, fighting, laughing, eating, dancing and whatever else they would have done. It all sounds very airy-fairy (and somewhat ridiculous) but I do wonder what kind of lives people would have lives in these places back in the 1400s when they lived here.
Anyway, enough about that – we had a new challenge to look forward shortly after arriving into the citadel.
That challenge would involve a whole lot of mountain climbing (breathless in parts due to the high altitude and low oxygen in the air) but the rewards from this would be one of the most amazing views you’ve ever seen of Machu Picchu – we would be climbing the amazing Huayna Picchu – a prospect I was both excited and nervous about! But more on that in the next post…