The Sun Gate or Intipunka is where the 4 day walkers get their first view of Machu Picchu (MP). It took me just 40 minutes to huff my way up from the Guard House after catching the 7 am Vistadome train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. While it was only a 90 minutes train trip, at least with the dome roof one could see the mountain tops that those in the “cheaper” Expedition class could not.
Then the 25 minute bus ride up the switch back road to the entrance where I had to wait 90 minutes before my 10.30 am guided tour. On hindsight, I should have entered MP at 9 am and then come out at 10.30 am for my guided tour. The entry ticket allows unlimited entry and exit from MP. No toilets inside MP so one has to come out to use the banos.
You can google what MP is all about. For me it was to take images both with and withOUT people. Between 9 am and 2 pm, it is literally impossible with all the day trippers around and this was low season. I was glad that after my guided tour and lunch, the day trippers were leaving and MP was relatively people free.
I was also truly blessed that while it was summer and the wet season, I had a rain free day as it had rained over the last 4 days. As long as it is dry tomorrow till 1.30 pm, then I will be very happy.
The guided tour by Frida filled in the gaps that I had read. I suppose it was only about 100 years that the Incas actually lived here and evidence abounds that they never did finish the construction of MP that surprised me. I am glad the Spanish never found this site but Hiram Bingham did in 1911.
After lunch, I made it up to the Sun Gate today as this was suggested because of the afternoon light. Yes, I agree. The clouds threatened to roll in but they didn’t. Tomorrow after my climb to the top of Huayna Picchu, I will walk to the Inca Bridge.
I then found a quiet spot away from the crowd, sat and took in the magnificent vista. Then with 90 minutes till MP closed at 5 pm, I wandered back through the main sights taking more images mainly without people to remind me of what saw that morning. By then I had to use the banos so exited 15 minutes before the park officially closed. By now the park was literally empty and it reminded me of my quiet time at Iguassu Falls in Brazil without the public.
Sorry, the photos don’t do justice to what I have now been so privileged to have seen with my own eyes.
Photos to be labelled, edited and a HD video still to be uploaded.
Machu Picchu - Entry one
Monday, January 09, 2012
Aguas Calientes, Sacred Valley, Peru