While I was in Cusco, I decided to take a day trip to Machu Picchu. It’s an ancient Incan city that was built in the 15th century and abandoned about a hundred years later. It was rediscovered in 1911 by an American guy (go America!), who kind of stole everything and gave it to Yale and Yale now refuses to give it back to Peru (go America?).
Arriving in Aguas Calientes, the city below Machu Picchu.
They charge you to go to the bathroom at Machu Picchu, which wasn’t all that new for me, but the interesting part was that they actually give you an entrance ticket. Luckily, it wasn’t the kind of thing where they had patrols inside to verify proof of payment.
Arrival into Machu Picchu! It was a bit cloudy / rainy when we first got in, so you can see most of the city in this shot, but Wayna Picchu (the big mountain behind the city) is hidden by the clouds. Pro tip: a good way to make it stop raining is to go to the trouble of getting out and putting on your rain jacket.
View of the city from the other side. All of the terraces were for Incan farming back in the day. The Spaniards never found this city (which is lucky because apparently they really liked bashing the crap out of Incan cities) so 90% of the masonry is from the original construction.
I was sort of baffled the entire time how the Incas could arrived at one of these giant mountains in the middle of nowhere and thought, “Hey, let’s build an awesome city right here!”
At the top of the city with Katrina, a friendly (albeit suspiciously clean) fellow backpacker I met on the tour. The big mountain in the back is Wayna Picchu, which conveniently escaped cloud cover right as we reached the top.
Picture from along the trail to the Inca Bridge.
In bargaining with the guy who sold me my trip to Machu Picchu, he said he would take $8 off the price, but he was going to take away my bus ride down the mountain (90 min walk vs. 30 min bus ride). As I was walking, tour buses would pass me every 10 minutes and the passengers would wave and laugh at me, but they were the suckers! $8? Ha! It actually was a pretty fun hike down, though the next day my legs were le tired.