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Machu Picchu
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The city of Machu Picchu seen from the Machu Picchu mountain.

All our friends who frequently travel and have visited Machu Picchu agree that there are very few places like this city on our planet. Some talk about the mysticism, others of its history and how it was founded, and still others like us of the magnificent example it is of an ecological balance between man and nature. What is unusual is that of all the opinions we have heard of Machu Picchu nothing negative has ever been mentioned. Truly this in one of the many places one must visit if traveling in South America.

The terraces on the sides of the Machu Picchu mountain.

Please remember we are not professional travelers and there is much we still would like to see. To date, only the lakes and forests of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada can compare with what we felt at Machu Picchu.

It seems like the ruins of this ancient city are in perfect balance with the surrounding nature. Among the mountains the city seems minuscule, as if a gardener decided to place a dollhouse amidst a jungle.

The Templo del Sol, it is believed to have been very sacred among the Machu Picchu population.

Machu Picchu is one of the many cities the Incas constructed in the high Andes Mountains. This city was built atop a mountain with almost vertical sides it’s mostly surrounded by depths that end on a circumventing river at some 12,000 feet (400 meters) below. South of Machu Picchu is another even higher mountain. It is from this other mountain that the city acquires its name. According to our guide special terraces where created on the sides of this other mountain to cultivate the food that fed the population. The Inca Trail, the stone trail that united the Inca Empire, runs on the side of the mighty Machu Picchu Mountain.

The constructions are of massive stone blocks.

We reached Machu Picchu area at midday on a train from Cusco. For a good while our guide showed us around and explained several details and customs of that region. We rested for the duration of the afternoon and we were ready to start again on the following day while it was still dark. The fog was refreshing and covered most of the landscape when we started the Inca Trail. As we forced our way up the trail the fog began to disperse and low and behold Machu Picchu emerged as a sight beyond words.

Lamas inside the city ruins.

There are some precautions we took that paid off and even though we are not tour guides we wish to tell you what they are. Insect repellent came very handy in the ruins and the area surrounding Machu Picchu. Sunglasses were also appropriate. Water or some other drinking liquid is also highly recommended, before the gates into Machu Picchu there is a cafeteria were you can buy water, but there are none inside the actual park. Comfortable shoes for walking up and down stone stairs and perhaps even more rugged shoes for the Inca Trail. And finally plenty of rest before heading out, Machu Picchu has several stairs and is a very taxing experience.

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Last revision: December 1, 2003
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