Thursday, November 22, 2012

Machu Pichu

Early morning light in Ollantaytambo - and I mean early. I stayed overnight at a hotel to catch my 6.40am train. There was a short walk down to the station - but the sun was coming up and the brightness of the day was already everywhere. Had thought I would catch a tuk-tuk, a little motorbike taxi but.... there were none at the pick up place and so.. I put one foot in front of the other and enjoyed....the view below, a woman with a few sheep across the river - a morning greeting from a woman gathering up dried corn stalks to feed her cows. I called 'munaicha' - beautiful - across the street and swung my arm towards the view - and she agreed and smiled - ' Ari - yes' and a beautiful day it was.
Down by the train station there was a 6.15 train getting ready to take off and then.... 'my' train, Inca Rail rolled in. I don't think there are trains for anywhere than to Machu Pichu on this line anymore. They all go to Aquascalientes, the little town at the bottom of the mountain, on the top of which someone was able to build the magnificence of Machu Pichu.
The train was full, the station looks empty, but... really, in short order after the train rolled in people streamed in, showed pasports - yes, we had to show the original documents - and every seat and space was filled up. The drive is 1 1/2 hrs through beautiful landscapes, mountains looming, with and without white mountaintops and along the rails run the river, or I suppose that the rails run along the river, for I do not think there is any doubt as to which came first in this case, the river or the rail =-)
In Aquascalientes one jumps on a bus and then... it goes up and up in hairpin twists and turns on a gravel road, and there are buses coming down the same narrow road already with people who have seen the sun rise at the top. Then, one exits the bus and starts walking upwards until.... one reaches the first 'plateau' and one has a good view of most of the buildings spread out over a large area. It is beautiful and ... very full of people.
And here is Machu Pichu the small green mountain on the left - also known as old mountain and the large one on the right is ....the young mountain - its Peruvian name is something with.a W escapes my brain at the moment. The young one was crawling with people.
Usually we think of sundials as metal smaller sculptures in our gardens. Here in MP it was a large rock carved out with super precision, not only with the 'arm' pointing up but also with several other layers and corners which will illuminate and cast shadows in a particular manner at spcific times of the year. The Incas knew how to keep track of time!
A beautiful rock in one of the learning houses, probably this rock is carved out so its surface resembles the landscape behind it. I do not know for sure since I snug into this part of the house, across a barrier and my guide was busy keeping guard and looking innocent outside.
The temple of the Condor - a magnificent sight, and a beautiful building - the man made structure built around the shapes which mother nature has provided and then ..... with the head and the upper back of a condor carved out in the rock below the temple on the ground a person is all set to ... give thanks and offerings to the condors, the guardians and children of the Apus - the highest and most beautiful mountains around.

And here I am, I really was there although it is hard to believe - this is not a photo shopped photo =-) and I feel very fortunate!

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