Machu Picchu Round 2

I headed back to Machu Picchu but this time I was with family and sunshine rather than Andy and rain. While I wasn’t necesarily excited for the hoardes of tourists round 2 I was excited to see MP bathed in sunshine in all its glory. It was also fun to go back so I could do a few of the things Andy and I did differently and also show my family some of the fun secret places we had found.

Lessons learned:

If you spend the time and energy racing up the stairmaster trail to get to the MP gate first, relish the lack of tourists in the main ruins, it’ll be the best chance you’ll have all day to imagine yourself living as the Incas did.

Don’t immediately sprint to the Sun Gate. The sunrise isn’t that cool from there and ALL the Inca Trail walkers end there and are waiting at the sunrise. It’s like a tourist ambush up there

Head to Huanuy Picchu close to the end of your hour entrance time. Otherwise you’re stuck waiting in line for a half hour anyway

Parents can stay in hostels too

Other than that it was a whole new ball game anyway. We stayed in the same hostel that Andy and I had, the Supertramp, which is really a very nice hostel. Mumsey and Doods flipped back 4 pages in the log book and couldn’t find anyone as old as them! Doods was in high spirits, most likely reliving the glory days, and Mumsey was being a trooper.She did insist on sleeping fully clothed (we suspected this was so it would be easier to escape the hostel if needed) and asked if she needed to wear shoes to go to the shared bathroom. Overall, a great stay at the hostel and for a far cheaper price tag than the usual MP traveler!

We were awake by 4:30am the next morning and Wiz and I raced up the steps in 35 minutes, getting to the main gate 10 minutes before it opened. We were among the first ones in again and got MP and all the llamas still grazing within almost all to ourselves. The parents made it onto the first bus and were in just a few minutes after us. We all got to appreciate the sunrise from the “hitching post of the sun” before heading up the steep sides of Huanuy Picchu. Doods was in a panic the whole way and mother insisted on carting her purse around and refusing any help but we made it to the top and were rewarded with beautiful, clear views of MP that Andy and I had been previously robbed of.  We miraculously made it down albeit Doods was facing the steps and walking down backwards, 4 points on, the whole way.

The rest of the day was filled with discovering the ruins and having a generally lovely time. We were back on the train by 4pm and sleepily rolled into Ollanta just as the sun was setting.

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On the train, excited for MP!

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Doods & I!

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Wiz & his headlamp on the early morning stairs to the gate

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MP sin turistas!

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Hiram Bingham style?

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Wiz entering MP through its main gate in style

Now, the llamas:

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Llamas

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Wiz with llamas

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Parents with llamas

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Llamas.

And then we saw the sunrise:

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The hitching post of the sun

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Sunrise!

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And then we wandered off to climb Huanuy Picchu:

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MP from HP

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The steep walk down

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Wiz and I walked up to the little picchu and got another sweet view of MP

From HP, we got to meander around MP for the rest of the morning, enjoying the site at a more leisurely pace. Pictures do a better job than I can so here are a few favorites (since you can only imagine how many pictures I had to choose from with Papa Wenger behind the lens of one of the cameras…)

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Cool stone rings found all over the site

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Improvisation by the big, blank rock

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Sun temple

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The Artisans Wall. Some of the best examples of Inca stone masonry in the site

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And the most adorable jumping photo ever. Ever.

And at the very end of our day we wandered all the way out to Sungate where we got to see all of MP below us.

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Group photo!

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MP from the sungate

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And while this isn’t related to MP, I need this picture to be archived on the internet. After returning we walked the trail that I usually run on in Ollanta which includes a ride in a metal cage across the river. Mumsey and Doods were troopers and agreed to go across. I think they liked it though (or at least Doods did) b.c they said they wanted to go across again!

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