A 3:30 a.m. wakeup call started our busy day. We started with a quick 1 hour flight from Lima to Cuzco where we were met by our van drivers for the next leg of our journey. We drove 1-1/2 hours to Ollantaytambo to catch our ride on the train to Machu Picchu village. On the way, we saw several women in traditional Peruvian attire (mostly for the tourists), but several other women we saw were wearing garments with traditional accents.
On the train they served us a quick lunch/snack and a mug of Coca tea. Coca tea is an old Incan remedy for Altitude sickness (further refined it can be used to make cocaine). It started to rain during our trip and was pretty heavy by the time we reached the village. We also saw numerous Incan sites most with terraces that are still in use today.
To get to Machu Picchu you have to board a shuttle bus to take you up the mountain. I believe there were 8 hairpin turns to get there and no guard rails for 99% of the way. Sheer drops galore. We finally made it to the top and to Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is probably the largest Incan site in their vast empire. No one knows for sure why it was built at the top of a mountain. But is is magnificent!
Walls with blocks so finely carved they they fit like a glove with each other. Other structures that appear to be temples (no one knows for sure), dormitories, storage buildings, working fountains and in some places running water.
On the hillsides and terraces of Machu Picchu we also saw llamas. Ron tried taking a picture of one of them.
We spent about 3 hours touring the site before the death-defying ride back down the hill, a 1-1/2 hour train, and another 1 hour van ride to reach our new hotel.