You know the postcard. For me, many years of wishing became planning about three years ago and after a couple of hiccups, this year it finally happened.
When you arrive at this end of the Sacred Valley of the Incas you can hike one to nine days.
You can hike from 5am from Aguas Calientes, the base town to be there for the gate opening at 6am or....
We met our tour group to be herded onto a bus and arrived at 9am amongst thousands of people and took a four hour tour. Arriving amongst the chattering throngs of people my first view of this majestic place was sadly underwhelming. Wearing an ear piece I stepped away from the group a few times but still did not feel the special way I had hoped.
We woke at 4am and made it to the line up for the bus by 4:45am for the first bus at 5:30am but 100 people had woken earlier than us.
Not to worry we were on the fourth bus and arrived at the view point with a very small number of people by 6:10 - beautiful.
It was unfortunately a cloudy morning so the sun was hidden as was part of the ruins but this also had a special beauty.
We hiked for an hour or so around the back of the mountain to the Inca Bridge. It was closed but the walk through the clouds on the narrow path in the silence was beautiful.
We arrived back at a view point at 7:50 just in time for the clouds to roll away and the sun to hit the lost city....a moment of beauty I cannot put into words. The universe gave us this view for about five minutes before rolling clouds back over it making the experience one of the grandest connections with Mother Earth I have had. Truly blessed.
My brief history.
Built in the 1400s, populated thereafter by 400-500 people. The Spanish arrived in 1573 and enslaved the Incan empire which covered most of South America at that time. However the Spanish never found Machu Picchu and it disappeared off the radar until being rediscovered by western explorers in 1911.