Posted by: travelrat | January 23, 2018

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu 2

Machu Picchu: 17th February 2017

From Aguas Calientes, the bus wound its tortuous way up the hill to Machu Picchu. The ruined Inca city is, of course, not something you can describe with a few words and a couple of pictures … although there is a slide show and some video to come.

The city was built by the Incas around the end of the 15th Century. No wheels or iron tools were used in its construction; South America was still in the late Stone Age/early Bronze Age. But, the huge stone blocks were hauled into position, worked and shaped, and positioned, without any mortar, so that a razor blade couldn’t fit in the cracks.

Since I do a regular volunteer shift at Stonehenge, I couldn’t help but compare the two constructions … but, of course, Stonehenge is on a far smaller scale.

They claim the city was the only one never conquered by the Spanish conquistadores in the 1530s; at any rate, no evidence has been found so far of their presence. Did they decide it was far too much trouble to climb that mountain or, more likely, did they pass it by, unaware of its existence?

Clouds darted in and out among the peaks, and it was rather damp. But, what do you expect in an Amazonian cloud forest? And, Amazonian it certainly was; the river flowing far below is a tributary of that river.

Among the ruins, llamas grazed … which is a far better way of keeping the grass on the terraces short than a lawnmower.

Of particular interest was the Sun Temple, in which there’s a device for observing the sunset at the Winter Solstice. They seemed to disregard the Summer Solstice, which reinforces my theory that the Winter Solstice was held to be far more important.

Machu Picchu 1

We were given the option of climbing right to the top, but we didn’t take it, for we knew what we’d see. That view of the city, with the peak of Huaynu Picchu in the background is reproduced in just about every article you read about the place, and has become something of a cliché. If I wanted that, I could just buy a postcard.


  1. Although it’s been on my list of places to visit for many years we never managed it. Now I’ve left it too late as I can’t cope with lots of walking these days, but I enjoy reading other people’s experience of their trips. I love the top photo, the misty cloud sweeping over the ruins.

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