Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Machu Picchu

I'm back! (in the States that is)

I'm busy lying around all day and watching tv, but I thought I could spare a few minutes to finally post my pictures from the last two weeks of my South American adventure.

First, naturally, is Machu Picchu. One of the new seven wonders of the world, and with good reason. It's only a few hours by train from Cusco but it still feels like a hidden city.  Despite the fact that the travel agent made some questionable decisions while organizing this trip it was absolutely amazing. So amazing in fact that I think I'd like to go back and see it again someday (and maybe even hike a few days of the Inca trail). But first things first.

My impression of M.P.
1) There were tons of people. But strangely it didn't feel too crowded.

Most of my pictures look a lot like this.

...but only because I cropped out all of this.

2) It's really easy to get a good picture ... even if you aren't a particularly careful or skilled photographer. It's just that photogenic.

3) Finally, for the Inca it's clear that awesomeness came first, and safety a very distant second. I get the feeling the Inca would not have made me take off my shoes before boarding an airplane. Nor would they have labels on dishwasher soap to tell me it isn't edible. The Inca were just a little bit too cool for that.

Tips from me if you're planning a visit:
*Bring - Sunscreen, sunglasses, water, and obviously, your camera
*Wear layers. It's one of those places that is maddeningly hot and cold all in the space of a few minutes.
*Stay overnight in the town of Aguas Calientes, don't do the day trip from Cusco. If you're in Aguas Calientes (at the base of the mountain) you'll get several extra hours at the site when the lighting is interesting and the crowds are thinner (and the sun isn't so hot). Plus it's a super cute little town. See?

Sort of Peru meets old Colorado mining town.

*Skip the tour guides. You'll have more fun on your own and you'll have the freedom to see what you want.
*Know what kind of traveler you are and embrace it. If you really like hiking and camping the Inca trail (or one of the many smaller trails) is a must, but don't do it just because everyone else says you should. If you want a comfortable trip or just don't have as much time the train is a perfectly legit option and there's a luxury one if you want to pretend you're back in the golden age of travel.

Okay, that's it for now! I'd post more pictures but I have an awful lot of tv to watch today and don't want to fall behind.

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