We're up at 5 am in order to catch the 7 am train to Machu Picchu. We decided to book the vista train for the trip to the ruins and take the economy train for the return trip as it will be dark by that time. It's an hour an half train ride and then we transfer to a shuttle bus for another 40 minute ride to the base of the ruins. There was a huge rock slide earlier this year that has taken out sections of the road and part ways up we have to transfer to another bus which involves climbing a temporary set of stairs about a hundred feet before we board another bus for the remainder of the trip. On the way another bus has broken a tie rod end and is blocking traffic leaving barely enough room for the other buses to pass on the cliff side of the road. It's an interesting ride but could be nerve racking for those afraid of heights.
This is the beginning of the slide that crossed the road in three other places further down the hillside.
This bus has a broken tie rod end, earlier in the day it was blocking the road. Somehow, during the day it was dragged to this location where it seems to jammed between the rock slide and the hillside.
There is one gas powered rock drill on the site, for anyone who has used one of these you know it'll take them forever to drill and blast these boulders.
When we arrive at the base of the ruins we hire a guide for two and a half hours, Glaricina (an indigenous lady from this region) told us not to worry about the cloud cover and takes us directly to the top of the site where we wait for breaks in the cloud cover which comes and goes frequently. She then takes us through the most spectacular view points while explaining the history, culture, construction techniques and how the Inca's used astronomy. By 12:30 our guided tour is over and I make another trip to the top to capture more photos, this time without any clouds. I won't explain every photo but here is a link to a web site that you may find interesting:
The stones were finished with concave and convex faces which prevented them from dislodging during an earthquake. The walls were also slightly angled inward for the same reason.
Where you can see daylight between the stones is due to the rock under the surface fracturing and settling.
This doorway was recently reconstructed as evidenced by the scrawl lines on the stones above us.
The day netted over 250 photos, the weather was great considering we are here in the wet season and the crowds were not at all bad.
The cost: train tickets $140 USD each, bus tickets $10 USD each personal guide $43 USD and admission $45 USD each but it was well worth it and we can check Machu Picchu off our bucket list.