Five Photos Five Stories Challenge Day One | Macchu Picchu


This is the classic view of Macchu Picchu in Peru. I took it in November 1999 from Inti Punku, the ‘Sun Gate’ as dawn lit up the sky and the sun melted the cloud cover. I had trekked the Inca trail for three days to get there. The high altitude nearly killed me; I lost nails from both big toes from repeatedly stubbing them into the Inca stone steps through sheer exhaustion along the way. But it was worth it; I had waited a long time to experience this view, since my teens, in fact.

Because it was so early, we arrived well before the hordes of tourists. It was wonderful to have this ancient sacred place to ourselves, but for a few other intrepid trekkers. We felt we had earned the right to be there. We spread out and explored, soaking up the atmosphere and the views. After a couple of hours, buses and helicopters began relaying the tourists in and out. The magic was lost, and it was time to leave.

Macchu Picchu was discovered in 1911 by American historian and Yale lecturer, Hiram Bingham. The city was built by the Incas around 1450, but was abandoned only a century later. It may have served as a royal retreat for Pachacuti, the Incan emperor at the time of construction, but it’s also possible that it may have been a site of religious activity. Most people associate the Incas with large scale human sacrifice, but evidence of relatively few human sacrifices have been found at Macchu Picchu.

I was nominated to take part in this photo challenge by Sue Vincent, who takes the most beautiful images and always has a story to tell about them. I would like to nominate Ed Mooney, whose photographs I love, but no pressure, Ed!

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive day
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

52 Comments on “Five Photos Five Stories Challenge Day One | Macchu Picchu

  1. Pingback: Capturing History Challenge – Week 8 | Ed Mooney Photography

  2. Love this, Ali! My dad did that trip two years ago. It sounds absolutely amazing! And yes, quite the challenge. I’m glad you made it up to the site before the tourists. πŸ™‚ What a wonderful experience for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a wonderful experience, Γ‰ilis, physically demanding but worth every moment. The whole trip was amazing, actually, its a fantastic country, and I definitely fell in love with its many faces.


  3. We did this in 1987 when the Inca trail was a death trap and the terrorists making it seem a hairy place to go. Glad we did. My children did it last year and couldn’t climb the sugarloaf at the back which we could. Was it possible in your time?

    Liked by 1 person

      • You have a decent excuse then; the views were rather ruined by the mist but on a clear day they would have been amazing from up there. It is a great spot.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Perfect photo, Ali, and what an effort to get it. A 72 year old friend of mine just made that hike – he’s a fitness nut – and I traveled with him through the messages he sent out every day with pictures. It’s not something I would want to do – I think I’d ride the train up as far as it goes. What a mystical place! Perfect for Ali Isaac, the story teller!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Wow, at 72??? Amazing! It sure is a fab place. I think they’re trying to control the number of tourists now, certainly on the inca trail, if not at the site.


  5. Oh now I am so jealous! It has always been on my wish list… but I’d have to walk it too and the joints may be getting a bit past that! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it definitely was! The getting there was all part of the experience, and definitely felt I’d followed in the footsteps of the ancestors who lived there and earned my place there. The anticipation built during the trek, and it felt extraordinary to wait for the dawn at the Sun Gate to pull back the curtains of dark and mist to reveal that first view!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, you’re the second one I see doing this challenge. It’s fun πŸ™‚

    I’ve been a hard-core Incas fan when I was a child. Truly, I read a lot about their history and culture and I would put my hands on anything which ‘smelled’ Incas. I don’t know why I got so involved with them.
    It has worn out now, but I still feel ‘something’ when I hear and see ‘Incas’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was just the same in my younger days! Devoured books about the child sacrifices found on top of mountains. No internet then! 😁 Now I am a little more sceptical about archaeologist claims and interpretations, but then I believed everything the experts said. Maybe going there excorsized my ghost, I dont know. I did put the books away though. So many amazing things happened on that trip to Peru. I always thought I’d go back one day. I hope I will. I think I left a small fragment of my heart there. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Craig. It was an ambition to go there for a long time, one of those things you hope to do but never think you will. What a fabulous country, if you love mystery, archaeology and mountains!

      Liked by 1 person

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