The Elders of course are always quite perky and eager to pose for a photo
Hermana J and her seatmate Hna. Jesperson had a lively conversation going on too for the whole train ride down the canyon. The young Hermanas are always glad to be able to visit with Hna. J, and like girls everywhere, they always have lots to talk about.
The train ride took us down alongside the Urubamba river that was quite rough and fast. We dropped in elevation from 11,000ft at Cusco to about 6,400ft at Aguas Calientes, where the train stopped. Train and walking by footpath are the only ways to get into to the Macchu Picchu region, but there are buses that take us from here up to the actual site, at about 7,900ft elevation. The mountains are so steep around Aguas Calientes that my GPS couldn't even see enough satellites to get a fix!
This is the main doorway into the city. On the other side there are bolsters in the stone for securing a gate to close it. This was a religious, teaching, and spiritual center, not strategic, so there aren't many defenses as such. The understanding is that as the Spaniards were looting Cusco a couple hundred KM away, that Macchu Picchu was abandoned, the trails and bridges leading to it were destroyed, and the people sworn to silence. Anyway, the Spaniards never found it.
The Inca craftsmanship is here in abundance, in varying degrees. Pretty artistic, and it's lasted more than 500 years.
This is a sundial. It's not so much for telling the time of day as it is for marking the seasons, solstices, and equinoxes. There are gates and doorways that line up perfectly with the rising sun on the Spring Equinox. We spent 5 - 6 hours on our tour of the site, and we also had some free time later to look at the things that were of special interest.
Back in Aguas Calientes, we wandered through town for a while - it really is a tourist town, as MP is THE tourist attraction of Peru. We crossed a bridge over another tributary of the Urubamba River. During the rainy season and during floods, this is a torrent right up to the sidewalks. Lucky for us, this was a "perfect day" for touring MP.
What's that, Hermana Essig? Yes, it really is.
Well, back on the train, then the bus, and finally home at 7:00pm. This made for a long 17-hour day, and as you may know, Hna. J isn't real comfortable with long trips on swaying buses and trains, but like everything here, she takes it in stride. She did get a good rest that night, and took a well-deserved sleep in the next morning before getting back to work. We have lots more pictures and stories of this magnificent place, which we'll be glad to share when we return.