The Incas were a small people… probably hovering around 5 feet tall. Yet, their cities are built on top of mountains, with steps leading up to these cities that are about 2 feet tall each. They must have had very well-developed quadriceps.
I may have huffed and puffed a little coming up the mountain, but once we reached the top, it was all worth it!
Machu Picchu was recently named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and perhaps that is why the site was so crowded on a Sunday morning… I didn’t let the crowds interfere with my joy, though, what an opportunity to be in such an amazing and beautiful place!
See the llamas? They are the caretakers and the lawnmowers of Machu Picchu! After the (re)discovery of the site in 1911, llamas were used as pack animals to reach the mountain top. Once the climbers arrived, they would leave the llamas on site, and their descendants remain today.
If [when?] I go to Machu Picchu again, I would do a few things differently: 1) go earlier in the morning to avoid the heat, and the crowds, 2) wear more sunscreen. I got some burns, even after a liberal application of SPF 45. I think it was the proximity to the equator, and the altitude that made the burn more intense.
Our tour through the Sacred Valley – two days after Machu Picchu – was equally as meaningful. The Valley above Cusco, leading to Machu Picchu, is filled with little towns, and many more Incan archaeology. It was not as crowded, and the timing just seemed better. There were two highlights of that day: the town of Ollantaytambo, and the town of Chinchero.
The town of Ollantaytambo has been consistently inhabited for over five hundred years. The Incas built it, and the people there today live in the same structures and houses that they lived in. That tidbit made the site even more interesting.
I have already mentioned our stop in Chinchero, known for its textiles. The town also has some Incan ruins, and a beautiful church that has remained untouched since the Spanish came to the region.
This post concludes my Peru series – and I thank you so very much for reading and commenting! As your can undoubtedly see, Peru is a beautiful country with a rich history and diverse cultures. The Amazon and the Andes seemed like different worlds, yet they make up one country. I enjoyed each part of our trip immensely, and Kris and I are already thinking about a return trip. As you can see, this trip made a real impact on me.
Thank you for reading! I will share some souvenirs and knitting progress with you very soon