Peru - Entering Machu Picchu

  Andrys Basten, photos taken 5/23/97 (Click to enlarge)

Photographing from bus The sun was bright on the winding road up to the former city of Machu Picchu , and reflections vied with the gorgeous views outside.

    The interesting aspect, for me, of these two bus photos is that in both of them, my head, with Elph camera at the eye, just happened to fit exactly within the configuration of Putucusi mountain/hill directly east of the Machu Picchu site.

    There's a beautiful smaller hill with a pointed top that can be seen in front of the very much larger, darker, and lush Putucusi.

Photographing from bus

    The first window photo above is enlargeable;   the 2nd one was taken a little earlier, with my head once more apparently at-one-with-Putucusi mountain. I love it.
    The camera and my hands are magnified through the window - the camera actually about the size of a pack of playing cards.

    Here is a photo, by Martin Gray, of the winding road the bus took from Agua Calientes to Machu Picchu. The road ends at the hotel, and you can see the beginning of Machu Picchu at the right end. This is from the January '99 installment of his interesting Latin America pilgrimage series.

(93k)         At the entrance to the site

    Now we're finally off the bus and can see clearly. The 2 children are near the entrance to the old city and in front of the small Hotel Machu Picchu Ruinas atop that site.

    We chose to stay in this more expensive hotel because it allows you to stay past 2:30pm when the other tourists have left on buses for the day, and it is easy to go into the ruins at 5pm and stay in to watch the sun go down (though it's best not to be far from the entrance when it gets dark and there is not much light left).

    Staying at this hotel also allows dawn visits to the ruins. The tourist buses come up from towns below at about 10:00am.

Entrance view of Putucusi
An unimpeded view of Putucusi (123k)

This is from the stairs of the hotel lobby.

    There were fires in June or July '97, after we left, which came within a few yards of the site, and Putucusi and other hills are no longer as lush. Some of the vegetation will take 15-30 years to grow back.

Next . . .More on entering the ruins. . .

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