Every day Machu Picchu attracts adventurers, archaeologists, photographers and intrigued travellers to view the amazing Inca city. Many will make the challenging trek to this New 7 Wonders of the World, but although Lisa Rollinson took the easier route she was still overcome by the legendary site…
“I had heard tales about the mystique of Machu Picchu and dreamed of visiting the ancient ruins since I was young. I had seen pictures and read books, but finally the time came for me to jump on a plane and visit this man-made wonder for myself.
We arrived in Aguas Calientes by train in the early afternoon and there was a buzz in the air from people coming from the sacred ruins. It’s a little town built as a base for access to Machu Picchu to cater for people returning from the Inca trail or arriving by train. A river courses right through the village with the train line running alongside. Dozens of restaurants and shops selling tourist souvenirs are sprawled around.
Buses lined the road, loading people on and driving the 25 minutes up and down the mountain to Machu Picchu. We joined the queue with locals and tourists alike.
The road curled back and forth and then, as the bus rounded a corner, I had my first glimpse of the ancient Inca ruins scaling the side of the mountain. I realised I was holding my breath, taken aback by the size of the ruins.
The most incredible thing is where the ruins are built, literally on the side of a mountain. The amount of work that went into clearing the land is inspiring, but the gradient they are built on is just unfathomable.
We wandered the ruins for a couple of hours as our guide explained how the stones used in the construction were both local and brought in from elsewhere. It took around 90 years for the Incas to build the sanctuary and some even say parts were never finished. When the Spanish came, the Incas were thought to have burned Machu Picchu and hidden themselves deeper in the mountains.
Machu Picchu was a small city, a sanctuary, built in the most incredible landscape. ‘Incredible’ just doesn’t describe it. You just have to see it for yourself to be able to comprehend the scale of Machu Picchu and it will keep you wondering why the Incas decided to build on a mountainside, in the middle of nowhere. There is simply nothing that compares in our modern world!”
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* photo by Thomas Mason – Intrepid Photography Competition