And for another thing, we wanted to climb Huayna Picchu. That's the mountain above Machu Picchu, like you can see here:
Two groups of climbers are let up each day in shifts of 200 people each, and it fills up, so you have to buy your tickets in advance. We secured tickets months ahead of time, and after enjoying a beautiful sunny morning in the ruins, lined up to climb.
I might as well tell you now that there aren't a lot of pictures from this climb. The mountain is a little over 1,000 feet higher than Machu Picchu, and the climb is steep. In true Peruvian fashion, there's just one path, both up and down, and you're kind of on the edge of a narrow path, ready to fall to your doom, at all times. It wasn't exactly the kind of environment in which I felt comfortable shifting a heavy backpack around and fishing for a camera. So very few pics until we reached the summit!
|Ruins on the way up|
|Think these terraces are steep enough?!|
|Close to the top|
|That's as close to the edge as I'm getting.|
|Looking down at Machu Picchu. The zig-zag to the left of the ruins is the bus road.|
But you aren't quite at the summit yet. To get to the summit, you squeeze through some gaps in the rock (a passageway, cave-like) and clamber all the way to the tip of the mountain - which is heaps of huge jagged rock. With lots of people and not a lot of room to maneuver.
Up at the top sits a stoic guard, who does nothing but presumably blow his whistle if someone falls off. He climbs up and down every day!
|Me at the tippy top of the mountain - with clouds at eye-level|
|Having a break on the way down. Behind us is the Swiss family! I started calling them the Swiss Family Robinson.|
|"I climbed up to here."|