First we have to show you our accommodations in Aguas Calientes. Not exactly up to the standards we'd gotten spoiled by for most of the rest of our trip. But, it did have beds, which was the main requirement after our strenuous day on the Inka Trail. And we did have a delicious dinner to replace those lost carbs (unfortunately we didn't get a picture of the restaurant). And speaking of carbs, here are Kathy and Joan having a VERY early breakfast at the hostel the next morning. We wanted to catch a bus up to Machu Picchu at 5:30 and I think we made it.
This is one of the first views that greeted us after getting off the bus that morning. The sky was light, but the sun hadn't quite come over the mountains yet. And there was a lot of mist down in the valley.
We were raring to get down and explore Machu Picchu itself (wouldn't you, if scenes like those below were beckoning?!), but Hernán hadn't led us astray to this point, and he really wanted to show us the Inka Bridge, so we told him to "lead on!" It only delayed our entrance into the main complex by 20 or 30 minutes, and was well worth it.
Since the Bridge is on the other side of Machu Picchu Mountain, which separates it from the main complex, we wouldn't have seen these views if we hadn't taken this side trip.
This is what the trail looked like. Because it runs along the west side of the mountain, it was in deep shadow. That's why the distant scenery is overexposed in these shots.
Here are two views of the sheer cliff face into which the Bridge was made, the first one from further away on the trail, the second from as close as you could get to the Bridge.
And here is the Bridge itself. The sign in the middle is what appears on the fence in the photo at the left. The Spanish says what you think it does. The picture on the right gives you a good idea of how the Bridge worked, and how simple and clever it was. They just pulled up the logs if someone was coming along the narrow trail that they didn't like.
Here we are admiring the Bridge, in two shots, one exposed for us, one for the cliff face across the way. And then, we headed back. Note the absence of a jacket. It wasn't a difficult trail, but it involved enough work to require some cooling down.
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All photos, unless otherwise credited, are © by Henry J. Amen III. Please do not use without permission.