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Machu Pictures.

Hi everyone!

If you’ve been following these posts for any length of time at all, you’ll have gathered that I travel a lot. A real a lot! So much so that towards the end of the year I even have to put the brakes on a bit and simply say “nyet” to my colleagues who want me here, there and everywhere – otherwise I’d be ejected from the list of proud Russian citizens who pay Russian taxes :) However, at least once a year I indulge myself with a sightseeing-only trip. Yep, no business at all. Well, except for the teambuilding with the guys who help me getting there.

Machu pictures

Machu Picchu had always been on my bucket list. And so it finally came to pass! And I heartily recommend everyone to visit this truly magic place – if just for once in a lifetime, and if just for one day. Two days is better – to have time to also check out some of the Incas’ mountain roads, get a bit of stone-gazing/meditating in, and also to trek up to the peak of the mountain opposite the ruins – Huayna Picchu – (2700 meters, ~9,000 feet above sea-level) and just sit and chill and take in the view for a few hours. Far out, man.

So, Machu Picchu. For those who don’t know what it is, have a look at here.

Briefly, Machu Picchu is a city of ancient America situated in what is today Peru, at the very top of a mountain ridge some 2450 meters above sea-level. Machu Picchu is also often referred to as the “City in the Sky”, the “City in the Clouds”, or the “Lost City of the Incas”. For more than 400 years the settlement was forgotten and became desolate. The Spanish conquistadors never reached as far as Machu Picchu, so the city wasn’t destroyed. To this day it’s still unknown why the settlement was built in the first place, how many people lived there or what happened to them, or what it was called originally. All we have is pure speculation. In all, a mysterious place – but a breathtakingly beautiful one too.

There are zillions of photos of Machu Picchu on the Internet, so only the lazy need showing any more. However, several of those I took I was rather taken with, so I decided to share a few with you here. For example, this stone corner just blew my mind… Now THIS is how one should arrange a corner when building a dry stone walled house! (look carefully).

Stone wall in Machu Picchu

Though it’s not all about “magic of the stones”, there’s still plenty worth pointing a camera at.

Machu Picchu

Among the many things I learned about the Inca civilization while on this trip is the fact that they tried to integrate with nature. They were not into the destroy-then-deploy scenario – like the conquistadors – but carefully made the best of the nature and environment that surrounded them to make their cities beautiful. Just look at the picture below. Here you can see a harmonious blend of man-made and God-made together. And you know what – you can hardly stick a knife between those bricks – they’re so tightly packed together. And can you believe that the Incas had no alphabet and no wheel – yet still they achieved so much!

During my short time in Peru I was told a funny little jokey comparison more than once: locals like to point to Inca architecture, then point to European architecture, then comment that the former was built by the Incas, the latter – by the Incapables! Indeed, still no one knows for sure how they managed to construct such amazing buildings.

Inca architecture

The second mind-blower for me was the transport network of the Inca civilization. Since they didn’t have horses (it seems lamas carried cargo), they got about mostly on foot via the national network of paths that cut high and low across the hills. Here’s one of them:

Walking path in Machu Picchu

Mountains of Machu Picchu

The green horizontal strip that’s just about visible stretching from the left-hand edge of this photo to the middle is a continuation of this transport artery, though here it’s all overgrown with bushes and fairly dilapidated – certainly not fit for strolling along. 500 years ago (probably more) it connected Machu Picchu with the neighboring town. The total length of the transportation network of the Incas is estimated at some 40,000 kilometers (~25,000 miles)! To give you an idea of this size, the length of all the railroads in Russia totals 85,000 kilometers (according to Wikipedia)! More on the transport system of the Incas can be found here.

Take it from me: to get to Machu Picchu you should take the train from Cuzco. By car you’ll get there three times cheaper – but it’ll take you four times longer, and then in the car there’s the very high probability of car sickness due to the non-stop bumpy ups and downs and twists and turns. The train takes approximately two hours from the Sacred Valley, three hours from Cuzco. You can choose either an economy class back-packers’ train for some $30, or a luxury all-inclusive one for some $300 per seat.

Cuzco train to Machu Picchu

When we eventually arrived it was already dark. Despite everybody really wanting a lie-in the next morning (after the veeeery long flight Sao Paulo-Lima-Cuzco), we decided to get up as early as possible to see the sunrise. So naïve! We ended up sitting some three or so hours at the top of a mountain staring at nothing but the thick fog that cloaked the City in the Sky (straight out of a Sherlock Holmes novel, I remember thinking; I also recall thinking how much of a world away London felt on that mountain!). As the guide told us (a little late, IMHO!), it’s a rare thing to see a sunrise on Machu Picchu – only a 10% chance.

But then suddenly something happened to the fog. It was like someone had started turning it on and off – changing the weather every two minutes. Weird! And, continuing the keep-your-camera-(and-lenses)-close-to-hand theme, some of us didn’t manage to switch lenses in time to be able to take a proper shot! Before you knew it, Machu Picchu was again shrouded in fog. Bizarre.

Then a scorching equatorial high-mountain sun started to rise – wow was it hot! So my advice is still to wake up as early as possible, but to go directly to Huayna Picchu – as already mentioned, the mountain opposite Machu Picchu – before it gets too hot. When you get back from there you’ll have plenty of time for exploring Machu Picchu.

You should really try and get there – it’s, like, totally Avatar, dude :)

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu mountains

One of the local superstitions dictates that in order for there to be happiness in one’s family and to have good luck one needs to install a pair of model mini-bulls on one’s roof!

The more progressive Christian families change one of the bulls for a cross:

Christian cross at a temple

The rest of the photos are here.

Everyone, GET YOURSELVES TO MACHU PICCHU!

Poka, poka!

3 Comments (Add Yours)


  1. I am yearning to go to Machu Picchu . The intelligence is so evident, and Avatar is perfect. I kept thinking as each picture came up……this must be what it is to fly ! Truly,sincerely loved this and appreciate the share.


  2. Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes is undoubtedly a fantastic place and many hidden mysteries of ancient civilizations. Unfortunately there is a great disproportion between the vast archaeological wealth and the economic misery of the people of Peru is one of the poorest in South America in addition to Bolivia and other neighboring settlement also Hispanic.
    Dear Eugene Kaspersky, no wonder you being an outstanding scientist mathematician, have been envisioned with the highly geometric architecture of the old “Incas” in very reminiscent of the “Mayas” and even the pyramids of the “Egyptians.”
    And it’s not needed here also say that you had great taste in sharing this beautiful ride with his friends and admirers.
    It is characteristic of scientists and researchers around the world travel to enlarge their knowledge and sensitivities.
    Support their initiative and see it in their incursions into the various regions of the world as a source of inspiration for their creativity as sharp and bright.
    Eugene…
    Something of his life reminds me of the great colleague “in memoriam” “John Nash” …
    He observed various geometric shapes found in nature in its infinite views, the source of inspiration for their complicated mathematical formulas as well as other of his contemporaries contributed to the advancement of science in various areas of various segments.
    Recently, the Americans realized the claims of “John Nash” the ideal concept of patriotism that long since lost.
    John Nash and a great mathematician was also a philosopher and ideologue and few knew it at the time.
    This peculiarity, incidentally, is also observed in several other mathematicians, physicists, and followers of the “exact science”.
    Dear friend Eugene Kasperky, let me call it that …
    When it is appropriate to come and visit the riches and splendor of the Amazon rainforest in the Amazon here in my country, Brazil.
    In the Brazilian Amazon have also immense wealth beyond all biomass, and many important archaeological sites with rock inscriptions of ancient civilizations dating back ten thousand years or more.
    Countless are the riches of the Brazilian Amazon and that unfortunately not all Brazilian citizens can know.
    A Catholic priest late Brazilian philosopher who was also called “Don Bosco”, once said that a prophecy is slowly becoming a reality in time:
    “Brazil is the solution for the survival of all mankind.”
    Obviously he had this foresight seeing how rich is the soil of Brazil in its water resources, minerals, plants and wildlife.
    In addition to what is observed here also a unique fact that all races and immigrants from around the world live in harmony leaving their historical differences and disputes in the past.
    Finally, your very good article about his visit to “Machu Picchu”.
    Congratulations.
    A lot of health, peace and prosperity for 2012.
    Mario Madrigrano Jaber

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