And the clouds cleared, and as they descended from Inti Punku there was light! And sun!
To beat the crowds to the gate we were up at 4am and queueing to get stamped onwards. Light was already appearing in the sky as we walked towards Inti Punku, and soon headlamps were discarded as I managed to find a quiet section of trail with noone infront of behind, and could pretend I was meandering along on my own. From Inti Punku we caught our first glimpse of Machu Picchu as the sun rose. Well, that was the idea. The sunrise was a bit unspectacular with all the clouds around, but at least we could see Machu Picchu.
Structures built around the natural rock – a common theme in Incan building
As more and more people started arriving at Inti Punku from both directions, we started our descent down to Machu Picchu. We pass people who had caught the train and bus to Machu Picchu, and were wandering up to see the view – including one teenage girl who is complaining vehemently about the fact she doesn’t want to hike up “another thousand feet”.
Arriving at Machu Picchu is a bit surreal, it’s an image that I’ve seen so many times before, it really does feel like wandering around in a postcard. After dropping off our packs we get a tour around, and then spend a few hours wandering round on our own as the day gets warmer and sunnier. I can smell the soap on the people who came here from Cusco that morning. And there really are llamas wandering round acting as lawn mowers.
Views of Machu Picchu and the neighbouring mountains
Finally all the people get too much for us, and we escape down to Aguas Calientes, and spend an afternoon in this tourist village that hugs the train tracks, lamenting the loss of our cook. The journey back to Cusco that night is all a haze, as the train and then coach rock us back and forth in our sleepiness, before spitting us out in Plaza de Armas to catch a taxi to our hostel.