Thu 18 Sep
This morning we got up early and took the bus up to Machu Picchu. The first thing we did was to hike to the top of Wayna Picchu Mountain. We looked at it and it was so steep I couldn't imagine how we would get to the top. The hike was quite a workout. Lots of stone steps. The view from the top was amazing. We were glad we did it.
At the top I loaned my binoculars to Curtis. A little later, a guy that works for the park was admiring them so we let him look through them. He said they were "very nice". He kind of hung around us. He used our camera to take a picture of the three of us. Then he offered to take us on a short detour to show us a rock that has an Incan face in it. What the heck. We went with him. He was nice. As we were saying goodbye to him, he asked "How much for your binoculars?" They're my new binoculars and I like them but I can get another pair easily and he seemed pretty anxious to have them. I offered him a price that was about half of what I paid and then he bartered me down some. I accepted his offer and he seemed pretty pleased. He showed us one more spot that was good for pictures and then we said goodbye. I looked back and he was looking at things with his spiffy new binoculars. Oh yeah, and Curtis gave him a Mormon.org pass-a-long card. Cute little missionary.
The first part of the hike down was a little tricky because the steps were so narrow and steep. I had to go sideways and be very careful. We spent the next 3 hours walking through the rest of Machu Picchu. It was really fascinating. I've seen pictures before the trip but they're nothing like seeing it in person. In fact, sometimes as I was looking at the views it didn't seem real. It was like I was viewing a painting or some miniature claymation city in the distance.
At the end we had a buffet lunch and then got on the bus and went back down the hill. From there we got on a train and rode most of the way back to Cusco. It was about a four hour train ride. Then a taxi to Cusco and our hotel for one last night of sleep before the journey home. It was a great day. Just amazing and so tiring.
One thing that I noticed all day at Machu Picchu was how friendly everyone was. Places like that are equalizers. It's like before starting a marathon or other sport event. Complete strangers are talkative, friendly and joking around because in that moment you all have a common bond. That's how it was today. We would take pictures with other's cameras for them and then they'd return the favor. Curtis would help translate for people when he could detect that they needed help. We met people from Brazil, Australia, Japan, Germany, and many other places around the world. So far, we are the only Utahns.