The final destination of our Salkantay Trek, was of course the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. I think Machu Picchu itself needs really no introduction… For us, it was the culmination of five rough days in the mountains, and for me: many years of dreams and wondering what such a place could actually be like. I have marveled at the possibility of this place since I was quite young, and came a across some photo in a book somewhere long forgotten. The image stayed in my mind for many years and every time since I came upon a photo of Machu Picchu my childhood wonderment and curiosity never ceased.
Panorama of Machu Picchu Complex
Lena Admiring Tipon
Our very last weekend in Cusco! We had finished our Spanish classes and have been busy preparing for our upcoming journey to Machu Picchu via Salkantay. But our Spanish teacher had organized an excursion to nearby Tipon and convinced us to come along.
Tipon is an ancient Inca site in the Sacred Valley located about 15km from Cusco. It is believed to have been a hold place for upper class members of the society and a center of agricultural importance. There is also a very impressive Intiwarwi (Sun Temple) high above the agricultural terraces. This was one of the most advanced of the Incan cities in the area in terms of engineering, and there is an impressive system of canals and fountains that still function to this day- many hundred of years later.
This past weekend, Lena and I finally ventured out of Cusco for the day for a hike in the surrounding countryside. Within less than 8km of Cusco there are at least seven major Inca ruins in the hills here. There are many of smaller ones as well, unnamed which one sometimes stumbles upon accidentally. This day, we left from San Blas, and hiked up the hill to Q’enko. We had heard that it was possible to enter to the ruins for free, so from the hill we just walked in through the rear of the complex. We had a few minutes to explore, but when we tried to go to the main part of the ruins, we were stopped and asked for our tickets. Of course we didn’t have any, but we just played dumb, and when the guy threatened to call the police we just left. Still our plan was ruined- We couldn’t continue to the other ruins, so we just started walking in the other direction where we heard there were other ruins which could be visited for free. So, from there we walked across the countryside and eventually found the Temple of the Moon and from there followed an ancient Inca road over the valley pass to Puka Puch’ara. By the end of the day when we made it back to Cusco, we had walked more than 18km- Good training for our upcoming trek to Machu Picchu.
Panorama from Templo de la Luna