Mr. Hat welcomes you to

Machu Picchu

At almost 8,000 feet (2,430 m), this is one of the highest wonders of the world. The Lost City offers views of an ancient civilization. We get to contemplate the history of the world and it's people. The city looks so ancient, yet it was once a thriving city only about 500 years ago. Machu Picchu was never discovered by the Spanish Conquistadors and remained hidden until 1911. We had to wait until the clouds parted, and then the city lay below us revealing the classic view of the city where time stopped.

Afterwards, visit the Inka trail.


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(all photo's © 2003 Attila Gyenis)

Let the Adventure begin...

The city of Cuzco (or Qosq'o in the Quenchua language)

Cuzco is the city nearest to Machu Picchu (the Lost City of the Incas), and the staging point for the journey to the Sacred City. This is a picture of Plaza de Armes. Every town and city in Peru has a Plaza de Armes, which is the central town square surrounded by churches, old magnificent buildings, and a great fountain in the center. It was build and named by the Spanish Conquistadores. Cuzco was also the capital of the Inkas (aka Incas), an empire which lasted several hundred years. Cuzco was taken over by the Spaniards in 1533. The Spanish churches were build on the foundations of the Inka temples and palaces (which had been torn down). The Inkas didn't have a written language so all that is known about the people is what was written by the Spaniard Conquistadors, who were led by Pizarro, and the ruins that were left behind.

The Official Entrance to Machu Picchu

However, not for the people who took the 4 day trek. We entered from the top of the city and had to walk down here to drop off our backpacks before we were allowed to roam Machu Picchu.

The Official View

This is the "official" view (as seen on all the postcards and by all of us there that day). When the clouds finally lifted, this is the view it left. And it was an ever changing view as the clouds moved in and through the city. The afternoon was a glorious blue sun filled day with the heavens so close you could close your eyes and kiss it. OK, I'm taking a little poetic license here, but it was very impressive.

The Sacred River, in the Sacred Valley

Everything here is sacred, from the river, to the city, to the trail. Inka actually means 'royal.'

The Royal Blocks

These stone blocks were cut using hand tools. This was build over 500 years ago. There were two types of stone 'finishes,' the royal finish and the common finish. It depended on who the rock was being cut for. If it was for royal use (ie- temples, royal living accommodations) then the 'royal' cut was used. You will see that the royal blocks were square and smooth.

Inka History

There are as many myths about the Inka people as there are ruins. The Spanish Conquistadors, who defeated the Inka Empire, never discovered nor took over Machu Picchu. The sacred city was not rediscovered by gringos until 1911 by Hiram Bingham. The Inkas did not have a written language, so all that is known about them comes from the Conquistadors, or the ruins.

The gang in the Lost City of Machu Picchu

The Terraces

These terraces were used for farming on the steep mountainsides. The Inkas also developed an extensive water delivery system to keep the crops watered.

Huayna Picchu

The peak in the background (which appears in most Machu Picchu pictures) is call Huayna Picchu.

Registration Booth to Huayna Picchu

To climb Huayna Picchu, you must first register at this booth, and then sign out when you descend from the mountain. Who thought that after 4 days of hiking I would want to climb another mountain. Mr. Hat convinced me that I should do it.

Which way is up?

It was very simple to get to the top of Huayna Picchu. Follow the arrows.

The Stairway to Heaven

Had to take a series of steps to get to the top of Huayna Picchu. These were not the tough ones to climb. There was one set of steps so steep that you had to literally climb up (and down) using your hands and feet.

View of Machu Picchu from the sky

This was from the top of Huayna Picchu looking down on Machu Picchu. This was an awesome view. Only from up here could you see the expanse that made up Machu Picchu.

Take the Last Train to Cuzco

Wasn't that a Monkee's song? Anyway, there are only two ways to get to Machu Picchu. Hiking over the mountains (the 4 day trek), or train. There are no roads going to Machu Picchu. Actually, the train leaves from Aguas Calientes, which is a small town at the foot of the Sacred city (8 km away from Machu Picchu), along the Sacred River. There was only one way I was going back to Cuzco from Machu Picchu after hiking for 4 days, and that was the train. No more walking for me. The train ride alone is worth the experience.

Que le vaya bien!

Visit the Inka Trail

If you want to see pictures of Mr. Hat's trip to Hungary and Budapest, click here.