Machu Picchu

“Something lost behind the Ranges. / Lost and waiting for you. Go!”  (The explorer by Rudyard Kipling)

It was that moment, Bingham wrote, that eventually led him to Machu Picchu. 

Kahramanlarimiz yolculuklarinin asil amaclarina yavas yavas yaklasmak uzerelerdi. Machu Picchu’yu gozleriyle gormeye cok ama cok az kalmisti. Ollantaytambo’dan bindikleri tren onlari yaklasik 3 saat surecek, bu kisa sure icerisinde iklimlerden iklimlere gececekleri, masalsi bir yolculuga davet etmisti. Fakat tam karsilarinda oturan Silili tonton cift’ in “Neredensiniz?” sorusuyla bir anda kendilerine geldiler. Koyu bir muhabbetten sonra, eger bir gun yolumuz Sili’ye duserse misafirleri olacaklarina dair soz verip, trenden iniyoruz.

And finally- we are almost to the goal of this trip. We’re almost to Machu Picchu – about to witness this wonder with our own eyes. The train we get in from Ollantaytambo, takes us on a several hour-long magical journey. In this short time span, we pass by different climates and flora; from a very dry zone to tropical one… It’s like travelling in time. Everything is happening so fast; speed of light. Hypnotised by the beauty of the view and the melodies of Kanaku y El Tigre in my ears; suddenly, I hear a question smoothly enter my dreamstate: ” De donde eres ? ” It was coming from the cute Chilean couple siting in front of us. Our conversation starts with a question and goes on til the end of our journey and we promise to be their guest if we pass by Chile. 

Machu Picchu’ ya ulasmanin iki yolu var; birincisi pasa pasa gunlerce surecek Inca Trail’e katilmak. Inca Trail ( Hiram Bingham sagolsun ) son yillarda yogun talep yuzunden cok kalabaliklasan, gercekligini, ruhunu yitiren, herkesin bir maceradir atilalim diyip, yarida nefesi kesilenle dolup tasan, Peru’nun ikoniklesen atraksiyonlarindan birisi. Peru’ya gitmeden okunmasi gereken kitaplarin arasinda benim icin en basi ceken  Mark Adams in Turn Right At Machu Picchu adli  romaninda kahramanlarimiz John ve Mark, kitabin sonlarina dogru bu kadar yurudugumuz dag tepe, yasadigimiz maceralar yetmedi bir de Inca Trail ile Hiram Binghman in ardindan atildiklari seruvene guzel bir son yazmak isterler ve bu klasiklesmis tirmanis icin derler ki; “Inca Trail icin kayit yaptirirken 4 gunluk (en populer olani) yada 5 günlük secme sansimiz vardi. John daha uzun ve kesinlikle daha az populer olanini secmemi onerdi. Yuzlerce kilometreyi tadini almadan acelesi olan insan yiginiyla ucarcasina yurumenin hic bir anlami yok. Suanda Efrain ( Inca Trail in en aranan rehberlerinden bir tanesi) in dedigi gibi Ollantaytambo ve Machu Picchu arasindaki en onemli kalintilarinda yuzlerce insandan uzakta sadece bir kac gezginle bu ani paylasiyoruz…” Bu satirlari okuduktan sonra, Inca Trail e olan bakis acim degissede, umarim bir gun And daglarina tekrar donecegim ve hayalini kurdugum hala issiz ve turistlerin akinina ugramamis olan Choquequirao ya cikan o uzun yolu yuruyecegim.

There are two different ways to get to Machu Picchu; the first one is to join a classic 4-day trek on the Inca Trail (a former royal path to Machu Picchu, but now famous purely as a hiking trail that was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1915). This trek can be very, very challenging if you’re not prepared or decently trained. Be careful and don’t be so enthusiastic about it if you’ve never done any trekking. Mark Adams (The author of the “Turn Right At Machu Picchu” which should be definitely be read before your trip to Peru) tells in his book : ” When I signed up for his trip, John had told me that I had two choices – a four-day trip or a five-day one. He strongly recommended the longer (and far less popular) option. It didn’t make sense to fly thousands of miles to hike the Inca Trail, only to rush through it, but the vast majority of people preferred to hurry. Now here we were, at what Efrain (one of the most sought-after guides on the trail) called “the most important site between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu.” After reading these lines my enthusiasm for the trek diminished but I hope one day I’ll head back to the Andes and will realize my dream trek to Choquequirao before it is jammed with tourists like Machu Picchu. 

Ikinci yol ise; usul usul trene binip birkac turistik atraksiyona magruz kalsaniz bile, essiz manzaranin tadini coca cayi esliginde cikatmak tam bir keyif. Ustelik bu manzaraya, kan ter icinde dag tas demeden tirmanan Inca Trail tutkunlari eklenince aslinda pekte fena bir secim yapmadiginizi anlayacaksiniz. Ertesi gun Machu Picchu da unutlumaz bir tirmanis sizi bekliyor zaten. Sakince arkaniza yaslanin, gozlerinizi kapatin ve dusunun yillardir hayalini kurdugunuz o ana yaklasmaniza sadece saatler kaldi.

The second way to Machu Picchu is via Peru Rail. The Incas had a three-pronged Golden Rule, still widely repeated in the Andes: ama sua, ama llula, ama cheklla. It means, in Quechua, ” do not steal, do not lie, and do not be lazy.” So, there is not much we can do with our laziness considering the limited time we have and so we chose to arrive there by train although we know that we’ll be exposed to some touristic attractions. The only thing you can do to ignore these kind of attractions is to enjoy the unique view by your window (especially when you see some exhausted hikers on your way, you’ll feel less guilty about your choice 🙂 ) Anyway, trekking inside Machu Picchu will not be a walk in the park like you may think. So, relax in your seat knowing there are just a few hours left to the moment you’ve been dreaming of for so long.

Aguas Calientes, her Machu Picchu yolcusunun, istese de istemese de yolunun dustugu olabildigince cirkin yapilasmis bol turistli bir sehir. Onunuzdeki teneke yiginini gozardi edemeseniz bile gozlerinizi yukariya dogru diktiginizde o kutsal yemyesil daglarin ardinda sizi bekleyen essiz bir yapinin oldugunu bilmek bulundugunuz ortamin tum atmosferini degistirmeye yetiyor. Trenden iner inmez odalarina kendini atmak derdinde olan iki saskin once kendini kaybedip sokaklarin altini ustune getirdikten sonra, aslinda tam da istasyonun yaninda olan otelimize giris yaptiktan sonra odamiza variyoruz. Neyse ki guzel bir surpriz bizi bekliyordu. Kasabanin cirkinliginden uzakta, vahsi ormandan, nehirden ve onun etrafinda oynayan ciplak cocuklardan baska bir sey gormeyecegimiz bir manzaraya sahip kocaman bir oda. Jakuzinin buyuklugu de bonusu. Enfes! Tam da o anda ihtiyacimiz olan sey! Aksam yemegi oncesi hemen jakuzi doldurulur. Kaostan uzakta, Urubamba nehrinin tum ciplaklina karsi seninki…

Aguas Calientes: pilgrimage town of every excited tourist which serves as an entry to Machu Picchu. It’s a really ugly and chaotic town filled with lazily built and randomly placed building structures. Although you can’t ignore this shanty settlement, if you fix your eyes up through the cement blocks to the jungle just laying above the town, you will be able to ignore it enough, knowing that just beyond is something incredible waiting for you! As soon as we get off the train, the only thing we want to do is to find the hotel and drop ourselves into our room. The chaos of this little town did a number on us and after entering down almost every single side street of Aquas Calientes, we notice finally that our hotel is right in front of our eyes; exactly where we got off the train. Hopefully arriving to our huge scenic suite with a jacuzzi in front of the forested mountains and Urubamba river will be a welcomed treat. In this noisy little town the only thing we hear is the melody of the sacred river and the kids playing around it. Time to take a bath before dinner: Far away from chaos, naked body versus the nakedness of Pachamama … (Mother Earth in traditional Andean beliefs) 

Gece gozumuze pek uyku girmiyor. Hepsi heyecandan ! Boylelikle sabah 5 te gozlerimizi acmak pek de zor olmuyor. JB hemen asagiya inip otobus sirasina bakiyor. Merak etme pek kimse yok dese de benim icim kipir kipir eminim herkes coktan yerini aldi ve yuzlerce kisi siradadir desem de bir seyler yemeden saatler gecirmeyi kestiremiyorum. Kahvaltiya iniyoruz, heyecan tum vucudumuzu ele gecirdi, simdi de sira midede. Yok agzimiza lokma girmiyor. Hotel gorevlisinden kucuk bir poset istiyorum tasinabilecek meyve, borek vs. ne varsa icine doldurduktan sonra, gorevliye donup “Dunya’nin en guzel manzarasi esliginde piknik yapicaz da, biraz daha ekmek varsa rica edebilir miyim deyince adamcagiz gulmekten kirilip elinde ne var ne yoksa getirip, dolduruyor bizim “piknik” posetini. Sonunda otelden cikabildik. Ciktik cikmasina ama kuyrugun sonunu bulmak baya bir zaman aldi. Sabahin 5 bucugu, onumuzde yuzlerce insan… Otobusler henuz kalkmaya baslamamis, herkeste heyecanin farkli bir turu. Ilk otobus, ikinci otobus… derken bilmem kacinci otobuse saat 7 civari binmeyi basariyoruz. Yaklasik yarim saat suren dolambacli yollardan gecerken gunes henuz yuzunu gostermediginden midir nedir, daglarin mistik havasi  birden bire sizi etkisi altina aliyor. Tum insani ihtiyaclarimizi karsiladiktan sonra, gunesten once tam tepeye ulasmayi basariyoruz. Kameram hazir, click !

We didn’t get a wink of sleep; Excitement overdose! So, it wasn’t hard to wake up 5 in the morning. Even before he could wipe the sleep from his eyes, Jb finds himself downstairs checking the bus line. Although he tries to relieve me by saying ” don’t worry people are still sleeping, we still have some idle time to have breakfast,” I don’t quite believe him. I’m sure that hundreds of people have already taken their place in line. But as breakfast is always my top priority, I don’t resist too much. We go down to the dining room but end up asking for some fruit and pastries to go. Then I add ” could you bring some more bread please? We’ll have a picnic accompanied by the most amazing view of the world!” Swaggering, he fills our plastic “picnic bag”. Eventually, we’re out ! But it wasn’t as easy as we thought finding the end of the line. It’s 5 am. and hundreds of people, excitingly, are waiting for the first bus. Insane ! The first bus, second bus…. I don’t know which one we took, but I remember really well at what time we took it. After 2 hours waiting at 7 am we achieved to get in the bus. Even while the bus was switchbacking along the Hiram Bingham Highway to our ultimate destination, the mystical atmosphere of the “Apus” gets you. With hundreds of tourists, we arrive at the main entrance. After meeting all our human needs (I know peeing etc. isn’t a cheering detail, but you should really pee before passing hours inside as there is NO TOILET), we step into the Lost City of the Incas before the sun shows up. As usual, my camera is ready to solidify this moment forever. Click ! 

Size Machu Picchu’yla ilgili her detayi ayrintili burada anlatamasam da ilk anda ne hissettigimi saklamayacagim. Yanimda her ani paylasmak istedigim adamla yillardir bekledigim anin tam ortasindaydim. Ruyayla gerceklik arasi bir his… Gozlerim dolsa da fazla abartmadan SUN GATE e tirmanmaya basliyoruz. Zira yol uzun, birazda zorlu ve olabildigince buyuleyici…

Although I can’t tell you all the details about Machu Picchu, I can’t hide what I felt when I first got there. I was with the man with whom I want to share every beautiful detail of my life and we were in the middle of this place that we’ve been dreaming of for a very, very long time. It was something between a dream and reality. Anyway, let’s not get carried away ! So, we start to hike to the SUN GATE. The path is long, challenging and yet, so fascinating… 

Gitmeden once / Before you go : 

OKU / READ : Mark Adams ” Turn Right At Machu Picchu”

            Hiram Bingham ” Lost City Of Incas”

DINLE : Daha Peru’nun havasini solumadan kendini oranin bir parcasi gibi hissetmek icin “Kanaku y El Tigre” in tum albumlerini hemen indir.

LISTEN: Even before being there, if you want to get some Peruvian air, I suggest you to add all their albums into your playlist. 

The motto of Tree House Restaurant
The motto of Tree House Restaurant

Aguas Calientes’de  / In Aguas Calientes 

Nerede Kalinir ? /  Where to Stay ?

Machu Picchu icin iki secenegin var; ya Sacred Valley yada Cuzco’dan ilk sabah trenine binip gunubirlik ziyaret edeceksin ki tren’in ulasmasi ogleni buluyor, ikinci secenek ise pasa pasa bir gun onceden gelip, bu cirkin yerde konaklayip gunesi Machu Picchu’da doguracaksin. Biz neyse ki ikinci secenenkten yanayiz. Bizim gibi Aguas Calientes’te bir gece konaklamak gibi bir dusunceniz varsa onceden soyleyeyim en vasat hotel icin bile gecelik 100 $ i gozden cikartacaksiniz. Nerede kalsak cokta onemi yok temiz olsun yeter derken Hatun Inti ‘yi buluyorum. Fiyatina gore fena degil. Temiz ve odalar cok komforlu. Calisanlarin yardimseverligi de bonusu.

You have two options to visit Machu Picchu; either you’ll take an early morning train from Sacred Valley or Cuzco and you arrive at noon, or you’ll come to Aguas Calientes a day before and spend the night in this ugly tourist town just to see sunrise at Machu Picchu. Thankfully, we chose the second option, which seemed, to us, much more relaxed and less rushed. If you, as well, choose the second option, you need to budget a minimum of $100 for an average hotel. When I was looking for a small and clean place, I saw Hatun Inti. According to the charge, the service and comfort is ok. And the staff was extremely kind.  If you’re looking for a silent and peaceful place in all the chaos of Aguas Calientes, this is the right place to be. 

Nerede yenilir ? / Where to eat ?

  • Indo Feliz 

Sef Fransiz olunca, iceri girer girmez her masadan yukselen Fransizca kelimeler kulaginiza isliyor. Neyse ki gozumuze  Peru’ya has bir kac imge, obje vs. carpiyor, hemen seyahat ayarlarimiza geri donuyoruz. Icerisi tiklim tiklim (Onceden rezervasyon sart ). Yemekler enfes, porsiyonlar olabildigince comert. Siparisleri bir bir siralarken dikkat edin 🙂

The Chef is French, so as soon as you enter the door, on every table the French patriotism speaks to you. We saw some traditional ornaments that we’re turning back to our tune. Inside, the restaurant is full to the brim  (you need reservation beforehand). The food is so delicious and portions are very generous. So, be careful while making your order !

  • Tree House

Rupa Wasi hotelin bir parcasi olan Tree House’un sicak ortami, Machu Picchu sonrasi tum yorgunlugumuzu aliyor. Yemekler Indo Feliz’e gore bir tik daha iyi. Ayrica sarap ve artesanal bira menusune mutlaka Bir goz atilmali.

Tree House, the part of  Rupa Wasi hotel, welcomed us with a cosy setting. That was exactly what we were looking for after an exhausting trek in Machu Picchu. The food is one step better than Indio Feliz and you should take a glance at their

 

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