Maccu Picchu.

Worldrider Machu Pichu

For nearly 400 years while the Spaniards in their ‘great’ conquest of South America, Machu Picchu lay buried beneath the growth of the jungle high on a mountain top just 50 miles or so from the great city of Cusco. Perhaps lost. Perhaps forgotten. But Machu Picchu and much of the Inca history may be lost forever. For while they were very good at stonework, terracing, agriculture, calendaring and the like, jotting down their history wasn’t a strong point.

Machu Picchu was rediscovered by an American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911. While it’s the most famous of all Inca ruins, it is as noted the least understood. As I rode the train along the mighty Rio Urubamba through the Sacred Valley to this mountain top wonder, I had no idea what to expect. Perhaps better stated, my expectations were set for me. I’d seen 100’s photos of the site in history books, tourists pamphlets, motorcycle travelers websites and more. I knew it was perhaps the most dramatic archaeologic site in the world with its Andean setting, raging river and remote location. But nothing really could prepare me for my visit after taking a 30 minute bus-ride from the sleep touristy Agua Calientes at the end of the train line.

Road To Machu Pichu

The road you climb to get to the base of Machu Picchu and the mighty Rio Urubamba.

Machu Pichu

The Lost City of the Inca’s — Machu Picchu.

Huayana Picchu

Huanya Picchu sits proudly above the lost city.

Only approved tourist buses can make the climb to Machu Picchu so it was decided to leave my motorcycle safe in Cusco rather than tempt the “bad” people who prey on the tourists making their mecca to this magical and mythical place. I was part of a cattle call type of tour, so I took every moment to escape and just stare in wonder at the hundreds of terraces, marvel at the stone work and imagine the Inca elite practicing their rituals and celebrating their festivals high in the clouds. Even though it’s the rainy season I was blessed with great weather today. Just enough clouds to keep the high altitude sun from wreaking havoc on my scalp but providing adequate lighting to make for an interesting morning and afternoon of photography.

Many people come to Peru to visit this site by taking a 4 day trek along the Inca Trail. For me and my race to get to Ushuaia before winter sets its nasty dose of weather not favorable to motorcycle travelers, I decided to take the day to ponder, meditate and shoot pictures while capturing a bit of the history, layout and architecture of Machu Picchu. For tomorrow I look forward to making my way towards Puno and Bolivia.

5 replies
  1. Warwick
    Warwick says:

    I was in Urubamba photographing a mountain bike race last year, and rented a moto for a couple of days to ride up and down the mountains. Riding the roads up and over the 15,000ft passes was breathtaking. Like you say in your post, the Inca architecture is astonishing. They have some practical design and building methods that builders would be wise to incorporate into buildings today! Slightly off-vertical walls for earthquake proofing, stone work that you can’t slip a peice of paper between, and at one spot I even saw an aqueduct with waterfall, and you could turn the waterfall on and off by wiping your hand across it!
    I’m having fun following your adventures! Stay safe, and good luck!

  2. Randy
    Randy says:

    Hi Allan,
    Great background on Cusco and Maccu Picchu, awesome shots of the stone work, if only my motorcycle was as well built. Pulled out one of my “Music of the Andes” CD while I am sending this… How is the eating going, are you losing, gaining or hanging on?? Keep the knobby side down, take care and we’re thinking of you !!

  3. jorge
    jorge says:

    Allan, I work with Eric Jasso, I’m Argentinian and I come from the resort city of Mar del Plata, witch I think you must visit, to see how beatiful the coast is in that part of the wolrd. If you want me to hook you up with some friends over there let me know.Keep on traveling be safe and have fun.

  4. WorldRider
    WorldRider says:

    Hey Warwick, Randy and Jorge – Thanks for your comments and nice photography Warwick, you too…. amazing construction methods that we all could take notice. And I love those pan flutes and the Andean music, takes me high in the mountains… I hope to visit Mar del Plata, Jorge, we’ll touch base as I get closer to Argentina….

  5. giersman
    giersman says:

    Alan you are doing it the right way! My wife is jealous/envious at the same time! Macchu Piccu is a place we have both always wanted to visit. Seeing a relative (sort of) there is really a kick in the butt to work harder at saving for a vacation to a place like that! Keep up the safe and wonderful travels.
    Eric,Chery, Ethan and Rachel


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