We got to the gates of Machu Picchu by about 9am. I don’t want to bore you all stupid about this but Machu Picchu really is one of those magical places everyone should see before they die. Even though it was still early there were plenty of people there when we arrived. The sun had only recently risen above the surrounding mountains creating a spectacle of colours. The only sounds were the birds and the air just seemed to be filled with mystery as we stared at the vast ruins. The isolation of its location is hard to take in – a ruined city perched on top of such a steep mountain surrounded completely by steep drops on all sides, mountains and white peaks in the distance. We had seen the famous postcard view so many times; it was really hard to believe we were finally here.
Machu Picchu was only discovered accidentally in 1911 by an American archaeologist. What a sight that must have been for him even if the ruins were covered in vegetation which it took his team years to clear. The Inca’s had managed to hide it from the pilfering Spaniards, but no one really knows what its purpose was. Fred and Joselo (our guides) provided 2 hours worth of explanations about each building, the Inca beliefs of sun worship, the impressive astronomy tools and the incredible jigsaw-puzzle masonry of massive stones.