Machu Pichu, a place in Latin America you cannot miss-1
the train journey
Machu Pichu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World (1), is the top priority to see in Latin America.
Two Inca ruins in Peru are on the World Natural and Cultural Heritage List. They are the ancient capital of Cusco, "the capital of the world's Indians," and Machu Picchu, known as the "city in the sky."
In the middle of the 16th century, when Peru became a Spanish colony, a folk tradition had handed down: in the vast Andes, there was a mysterious ancient Inca city. For more than 300 years, Western explorers searched but found nothing. Until one day in July 1911, the American explorer Hiram Bingham, led by a local 11-year-old boy, set off from Cusco. The goal was to find a secret stronghold that remnants of the Inca Empire retreated after the Spanish conquered Peru.
Bingham and his team got into the mountains. As a result, the fortress was not found. But between the peaks 120 kilometers away from the ancient capital of Cusco and more than 2,400 meters above sea level, the plateau city covered by white clouds and the dense forest was accidentally discovered. Archaeologists could not know its original name, so they borrowed the name of a nearby mountain and called it as Machu Picchu. In the ancient Inca Quechua, it means an ancient mountain top. Nobody knows why this once the prosperous city was empty one night, where they left for, whether this place is really a golden city as the Inca legend said, or even whether it was once prosperous.
The basic way to Machu Picchu is by the small train with the way that Hiram Bingham went up the mountain. Therefore, taking this small train could learn some historical processes of Machu Picchu. This kind of small train is rare in today's world.
The trains to Machu Picchu are divided into tourist trains and local trains. Tourist trains are further divided into different levels. The highest level is the Hiram Bingham Pullman. The medium level is Vistadome. The lowest level is the Expedition. For many years, only Peru Rail monopolized the route to Machu Picchu. But now there is a new company Inca Rail competing with it. A medium-level train does not have an imaginary all-skylight glass, and there are many frames in the middle. It is also a panoramic skylight, but it is not enough to fully integrate into the blue sky.
Starting from the railway station in Cusco, the train first has to climb up to more than 4000 meters above sea level, and then descend down to the Urubamba Valley. Due to the steep hills and high slopes, the train can only walk along the zigzag, but because the road is narrow, it cannot turn. Therefore, after walking for a while, it has to switch to another track, turn the original tail into the front and move on. In this way, the track changes constantly, the head changes to the tail, and vice versa. The train needs to change the track four times during going up, and twice during going down, before walking to the river valley and taking 1/3 of the entire journey. In this Andean mountain, there are still such small trains, which is really unexpected.
Inca Time and Space
The unforgettable of this train journey was not only where it would lead us to, but the experience of the train itself was also very nice. Although the rails are narrow and old, the carriages made in Spain are extremely modern. The carriage reproduced the style of the Pullman train in the 1920s. Boarding the train, you could feel a strong retro style: comfortable armchairs, elegant cushions with prints, shiny tableware on the table... The service in the carriage is also comparable to airlines. The attendants pushed the trolley to deliver snacks and drinks.
The train is designed with skylights, and the windows near to seats are also panoramic, which is unique in scenic spots all over the world. The panoramic skylights provide a clear view of the Holy Valley without obstructions. Slowly enjoying the picturesque scenery of the Andes all the way, you will experience a kind of trance at the ancient time.
In the halfway, you can see couples of metal barrel-shaped objects hanging on the cliffs. This is the magical capsule hotel of Inca. Tourists must "climb and walk" to stay at the cliff hotel. It was a kind of rare but amazing experience in overlooking the beautiful scenery of the cliff from the high altitude, looking far into the Andes mountains, and getting close to nature in the daytime. And it is like a dream enjoying the stars all over the sky and the 360-degree view at night. However, sleeping alone on such a cliff with a height of 1,200 meters might not feel easy.
The winter scenery of the Sacred Valley is yellow and green. Thin clouds were winding around the mountainside. Snowy mountains stood proudly. The Urubamba River ran own all the way, escorting us to the city of the sky. This is perhaps the most beautiful and oldest crossing route in the world.