OR I DID IT SOLO DESPITE THE ODDS! BRAVO TO ME!!
Hard work and persistence despite not walking the famous Inca trail. I had booked bus tickets to go up the final ascent. You can walk but it takes about two hours and do you really want to exhaust yourself by doing that before you even enter the site? Not on your Nelly! (ooh Nelly Dean my local, I want a beer now!)
The bus ride is a harrowing dusty hairpin bend track up to the summit. One girl was clinging to her boyfriend quivering with fear and whining in a high pitched howl at each drop of monumental height she saw (and there were a lot) while we negotiated that thin, winding perilous road. The buses due to pass each other radio so not to pass on narrow stretches. To be honest it’s not that much comfort. When you arrive at the entrance there’s another twenty minutes climb, and whoosh! Suddenly there it is in all its glory, the fabled Machu Picchu.
Its shocking how after all the long awaited and tricky planning, it’s suddenly there in all its glory. You just turn the bend and voila! The magical place that wasn’t rediscovered until Bingham came across it, thankfully not ransacked by the Spanish thus no desecration and churches plonked on top.
The day was GLORIOUS! Clear and bright without the persistent clouds that are normally lurking, so my luck was truly in.
(Literally) Top Tip! When up at these heights with few barriers, a lot of tourists are so bloody eager to take photos (often very silly) that they jostle and push. Beware of these idiots they don’t have any respect or caution. I’m sounding very old birdie but there are no manners or kindness or politeness. Take care of yourself, avoid the larger crowds for they will disperse and you’ll be able to enjoy yourself much more. There is no rush and this is your time and space. There are a lot of steps wherever you go at any Inca ruin so go slow. Don’t attempt things that you feel are too much it’s not a competition. Ask people to take a pic of you who are couples or alone, they won’t be impatient and are probably there with the same attitude as you. Lastly. WATER, SUN PROTECTION AND A HAT, whatever the weather the UV is high even if it’s cloudy there and if you carry a lightweight pocket parka you’ll be ready for a dowsing! Enjoy it my birdies but remember you really can’t fly!
In this rarified air, already giddy like a giddy goat, I poked my nose into all accessible areas and occasionally got someone to take a pic for me. I watched as llamas breached the terraces very brazen and acquainted with the constant flow of tourists. I constantly sought out less crowded sections, my beady eye always aware when there was a lull at the most famous vistas. Darting in and out thus, I would be able to fully enjoy all parts at some stage without the milling morons taking selfies or generally being dangerous and stupid in their crowds, showing off to each other.
ALERT: I later found out a woman of my age, was pushed off one section and broke legs and arms very badly along with other terrible injuries. She had a whopping 50,000 dollar bill to be patched up until she could return home and wasn’t allowed to leave Peru until she paid up. Apparently she maxed out all her cards to get home. Obviously they were not prepared to wait for her insurance to come through. Another old Japanese couple had to be carried down by staff when it all became too much for them. I have a photo but it seems cruel now.
I will bore you with some Inca facts later but this place just deserves respect and wonder. You really must see it. It’s a pain to get to but……
FACT: “A quipu, or knot-record (also called khipu), was a method used by the Incas and other ancient Andean cultures to keep records and communicate information.” Apart from that they had no writing system so although brilliant craftsmen and brilliant at joining stones they didn’t figure out a way to write. We are none the wiser now as to their hopes and fears, if they were poets or pragmatists or had a great sense of humour. We will never know because they wrote nothing down. Neither did any of their ancestors in the North where I am visiting now. Hate to say it, they weren’t that smart then. Don’t want to rain on their parade but it was very sloppy of them.