Ruins, Machu Picchu
We had great weather...partly cloudy and no rain. The entrance was crowded but once you were able to wander in, the crowds thinned out and you could get great photo's.
Fondest memory: Wonderful and amazing scenery surrounding all the ruins. You can get great photo's the further in you walk and the crowds dissipate.
Favorite thing: Many people rush in and out of Machu Picchu the same day, typically spending only a few hours at the site. To best experience the site, try to spend at least two full days to hike the trails and marvel at the scenery and stonework.
As you wander around Machu Picchu, you will notice several different types of doorway structures. Some have double jambs, others have structures that seem to function as rudimentary hinges. But, equally impressive is the fact that many are still standing in a seismicly active region 600 years after their construction. In fact, Machu Picchu lies on a fault -- but you wouldn't know it from the sturdiness of the doorways.
Aside from being fine engineers, the Incas were also concerned with aesthetics. Many of these well-built doorways artistically frame mountain views.
After reading various tips and information online and in guide books, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find the many landmarks I'd heard about at Machu Picchu.
I was surprised to see how open the layout is - from the Hut of the Caretaker of the Funerary Rock, one can easily pick out the Temple of the Sun, Intihuatana (look for the crowds), the Sacred Plaza, the Main Plaza, etc. Nothing is really "hidden".
The only landmark I didn't know to go to was the "city gate", at the stop of the steps below the caretaker's hut. From here, apparently, Huayna Picchu is framed nicely within the gate's outline.
We used our map and guide from the Lonely Planet book. There didn't seem to be any maps available on-site - the one big board they had before the entrance didn't name landmarks. Best to bring a map with you. Here's a link to a decent map I found after the fact, although it leaves out some places my LP guide mentioned: http://www.enjoyperu.com/images/destinations/machu_picchu/machu_picchu_map/Machupicchumap.jpg
This construction in the background, you can see it also on of the other pictures here is constructed very similar to a special typical part of european churches in the middleages and later. Unfortunately I don´t remember very well which part it is......nevertheless....what strange coincidence that Inca constructions in such a mystic religious place like Machu Picchu are so similar to european buildings. How can this be? And it seemed to be proofed that Machu Picchu has been constructed before spanish people arrived.
I got already some interesting comments of El Sueco respect to it, he´s really an expert of Peruvian cultures but if anyone knows more about this history, please contact me.
At the main entrance to the site they took alot of sticks off people,ones with sharp ends and some wooden staffs.
The steps you go up as you enter the site are very steep as well.
Favorite thing: the big part of the buildings has not been destroyed, only the roofs of course, because ´wasn´t made of stone obviously.