People think dumb things sometimes.
Some people believe the earth is only about 6,000 years old, and caveman Og shared the planet with T-Rex.
Others thought that the earth was going to end last year because of some mysterious Mayan calendar nonsense.
And some failures of the education system still think that space aliens helped build structures like the pyramids, or Machu Picchu.
Well, newsflash. Space aliens weren’t needed, at least in building Machu Picchu. Incas of the time were pretty handy folk, thankyewverymuch, and were totally capable of building the stone city high in the Andes.
You get to Machu Picchu starting from Cusco, then a 3 hour rail trip to Maccupicchu town followed by a 20 to 30 minute bus ride to the entrance gate.
My guide for the morning, Marco, has been guiding visitors to Machu Picchu for 7 years. He suggested we get the tough climbing out of the way first.
First of all, this is no easy climb. I mean, that warning shouldn’t stop anyone from going, just be aware that you’ll break a sweat. It’s also over 2400 meters above sea level (almost 8000 feet to the metric-challenged like me) so there ain’t as much oxygen up there, folks. You step, step and rest. Step, step and rest. All the way to the lookout.
So how did the Inca get those huge boulders up the mountain without Marvin the Martian helping?
Leverage. Tough, but doable leverage. That, pluses rounded stones that acted almost like ballbearings under the granite slabs, and good old muscle power did the trick.
You can find those rounded stones on the site, and there has even been a huge piece of granite found with those stones underneath it.
These folks were pretty ingenious.
Now, I remember what Ankgor Wat was like. Crawling with tourists (me included). I had thought Machu Piccu might be the same.
Well, yes and no. Marco told me that in high season the citadel hosts up to 4000 pairs of tramping feet per day. Rainy season is about half that.
Thing is, Machu Picchu is such a large site and spread out over such a large area that it doesn’t give the appearance of bring overwhelmed.
Day 2 at the site had Marco and I climbing to part of the site called Sun Gate. It’s about a 90 minute climb, and I wasn’t sure if I’d make it, but I did. Marco and I stopped for about half-an-hour, then I made my way back to town and an industrial size lemonade.
My Peruvian adventure is almost at an end, but first I’m off to see the Nazca lines from the air.
Safe bet that there aren’t any space aliens there either.
Photos to come.