Being here overnight was a privilege. When we awoke to heavy rain this morning, though, we were unsure whether to quit whilst we were ahead and take part in one of the hotel’s eco activities (going to see the spectacled bears!) or to take our chances and head on back up to Machu Picchu and complete our visit by exploring the areas we missed yesterday.
Well, really, there was no decision. Much as I’d have liked to have seen Paddington’s rellies, the idea of seeing three “rescued” bears in a sanctuary didn’t really float either of our boats, so equipped with rain gear, sun block, tickets and passports, off we set after breakfast to make the journey up there again.
There was water everywhere this morning and it was easy to see why this kind of thing needs to be in place - the stories from 2010 make for sober reading!
Anyway, no worries here at all! Off we went, up on the bus again, taking the very last two seats on the back row which made for quite a bumpy ride.
Still, no complaints when one considers the alternative.
Now, upon our arrival, we fished our tickets out of our bag and handed them over. the guy on the desk said in better English than our Spanish “too late”. On closer inspection, our tickets were for 7am – 8am and here it was, almost 9.
Oh heck. Better go into the office and play the innocent tourist, hoping they’d take pity on a couple of dumb foreigners and let us in.
The woman behind the desk smiled and took one look at us – “you’re not really hoping to climb Huayna Picchu, are you?” Hah! No way!! The time on our ticket was actually a timeslot for climbing that enormous peak opposite. With a giggle and a stamp of our ticket, off we went into the ruins.
So here are the bits we missed yesterday and a few photos I didn’t take. This is the first staircase upon entering the park and is pretty typical of those all over, except that this one has a handrail. Even though it had just rained, the slabs were dry – at this altitude the rain falls but doesn’t seem to reach the ground sometimes!
It was great to have the place almost to ourselves at this time of the day. Well, there were groups up on the hill, visiting the more popular places but down here, we seldom had to avoid anyone in our photos!
Some of the darker thoroughfares were a little slippy still, but taking our time and watching our step, all was fine.
We decided to focus on the lower slopes this morning, around the Temple of the Condor and over towards the far end of the site.
The light today was marvellous – hazy sunshine through fast moving clouds.
We still couldn’t believe our luck at being able to visit a second time!
From down here, we could see where we’d been yesterday, too. Yes, really, we’d climbed right up there to the Guard House!
Mind you, there was climbing to do today as well!
We had a short chat – well, hand gestures, really – with this chap whose job it is to scrape away all the moss from in between the stones. A job for life if ever there was one!
Over by the Temple of the Condor, there were some pretty spectacular – if a but vertiginous – views.
Oh look, there’s the road the bus takes – and the huge landslide that happened two weeks ago.
Just around the corner was the gate to Huayna Picchu, too. A little hubbub of people here waiting to make the climb – mostly youngsters it has to be said!
Oh, what a shame we arrived too late for our timed entry!
We stood a while watching the cloud swirl around the site, thinking the weather was coming in but hopefully we’d stay dry.
Which is where we met Matt and his small bear. A tour director from Ohio, he takes this small soap bear with him and photographs him in various sites around the world. Out came our little skateboarder, who posed with her new friend.
One of the joys of travelling is the people we meet along the way, people who do similar daft things to us, who take pleasure in small things but who ultimately, simply love to see the world.
Leaving Matt at the top of this rather precarious flight of steps, we continued down to the next level. As we did, my hero noticed that he was carrying two water bottles. Well, duh!
Oh heck, he’d picked up Matt’s as we’d been chatting and now, we’d left him with nothing to drink! At altitude it’s essential to carry water and to drink frequently, what shall we do?
Well, of course, there was only one thing to do – to take it back up those evil steps and give it back. Having done so, my hero discovered that it wasn’t Matt’s bottle after all, but one that someone else had left at that viewpoint. He was immediately appointed “saint” status!
We now found ourselves returning along the path towards the exit. Did we want to leave just yet? Was there anywhere else we wanted to see?
Well, noting the weather coming in over the mountains and looking around us, we thought not. Rather than keep going and risk getting soaked, or simply spend time mooching around somewhere for the sake of it, let’s go now whilst we are still loving it!
We spotted some interesting footwear as we left.
We caught the bus back down to the village where we took a look around the market. There were not too many customers at this time of the day, so things were quiet. I loved this little group of children playing with their video games whilst sitting on the steps by their mother’s stall. Can’t you just hear that little girl asking “Please can I have a go now?”