We live in a fascinating world; one with so many wonders and eccentricities that I’d like to hope that we never lose interest or tire of all that it has to offer us. One such wonder that left me completely awestruck was the beauty that is Machu Picchu.
Following my day exploring the Pisac and Ollantaytambo ruins, a short train ride from Ollantaytambo brought me to Aguas Calientes; the closest town to Machu Picchu. My journey to the city began on an extremely early (5 am to be exact!) and damp morning, queuing for a bus with the rest of the eager travellers. The bus ride took 45 minutes and went up a winding hill, still draped with thick early morning clouds.
Upon arriving at the base of Machu Picchu, we queued once again, had our passports checked by the officials and had one small final climb to The Lost City.
Luckily, we had some friendly locals help lead the way! You find llamas lingering all around the site as they feed on the grass; a plus for the maintenance of the place as it means no overgrowth.
Let’s not forget that it was still super early in the morning, meaning the clouds were yet to unravel and the sun still to awaken. The anticipation to finally see the city was excruciating, just ask this guy who joined in on the wait with us!
But once those clouds drifted away, the view of not only the city but the city perched on top of these giant, majestic mountains just took my breath away! If you ever want to feel exactly how small you are in this great big world, head to Machu Picchu!
But alas! The day was not done. As blown away as we all were, we still needed to wait for the sun to fully rise and shine its rays upon the city. So we took a 20 minute walk west of Machu Picchu to see the famous Inca Bridge.
See that rectangular hole cut out of the mountain-side? Now see that minuscule line running across, above the hole? THAT is the Inca Bridge. The Incas used the bridge as an escape from enemies which might I add involves taking a very narrow road with a straight drop down on one side! This walk is not for the faint-hearted.
Back at Machu Picchu (or Old Peak in Quechua), to see it in all its glory once again! Often referred to as the Lost City of the Incas, it was built around 1450 and abandoned just 100 years later due to the Spanish Conquest. However, it is believed that the Spanish never actually found the city and few knew of its existence once it was abandoned until the American Historian, Hiram Bingham.
The story goes that in 1911, Hiram Bingham travelled through Peru, along the Urubamba River in search of The Lost City of the Incas and asked the local people to show him Inca ruins along the way. He got to a village in Aguas Calientes and after asking around, the young son of a farmer pointed out some unknown ruins located high up in the mountain above them. And the rest is history!
The entire place is peaceful and quiet (I guess that’s what happens when your only neighbours are mountains) and a little haunting; but beautifully haunting. As I mentioned with the previous Inca ruins in Pisac and Ollantaytambo, it’s a little eerie to think about all those lives that existed here thousands of years before us.
I believe that each day of my one month trip was awe-inspiring and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go everywhere I went and see everything I did. But something about Machu Picchu completely stole my heart! Out all of my travels around the world, I’d like to say that this was the most incredible place I have ever visited. Not only based on aesthetics but emotionally as well.
There’s something about Machu Picchu that makes you really feel the place rather than see. And in terms of what you see, let’s just say that no matter how many pictures or videos you take (believe me, of every shot I have about 5 of the same shots on my camera), it does not seem like you’ve taken it all in. It’s simply not enough.
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