◊ Machu Picchu ◊
One of the places that I wanted to visit the most during my stay in Perú was Machu Picchu, the famous Inca city, built around 1400. The words “machu picchu” are Quechua for “old mountain.” The Incas built a pathway between Cuzco and Machu Picchu now called the Inca Trail. Lots of people walk this trail, but we, like most people, took the train from Cuzco.
When we got to the train station closest to Machu Picchu, a van was supposed to be waiting for us to take us up the hill, but there was no van. That meant that we had to hike up the mountain… with our stuff! And so we bought some water in Aguas Calientes, got our backpacks, and headed on up the mountain along with other tourist and locals.
It was humid, foggy, and I was sticky. Ewww!!!! By the time we all got up there it was around 10am, just in time for a new tour to start. We bought our tickets and followed the guide for a short hike. We walked single file on a very narrow dirt path for about ten minutes. On the side of the hill where the hotel was, we made a slight left, and WOW!! There it was!!! Machu Picchu, before my eyes! The view was unbelievable. I just stood there for a couple of minutes. I just couldn’t move! For a second I thought I was hallucinating! I had seen many pictures, but nothing, NOTHING, compares to being there!
Someone finally pushed me a little and I snapped out of it. I had to jog a little to catch up to the group. Continuing with the tour, our guide would stop every so often to tell us more about this mysterious place. I was taking pictures the whole time, and tried my best to write down as much as I could in my little travel notebook.
So I learned that Machu Picchu was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a century or so after it was built, all during the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Then the site was “lost” for centuries. Then in 1911, when Yale professor Hiram Bingham, aided by locals, “discovered” “the Lost City of the Incas.” That is when Machu Picchu gained international attention.
After the tour was over, three of us wandered off the path and took pictures of ourselves using the incredible scenery as a backdrop. There were a couple of llamas peacefully hanging out, laying on the grass in one of the many terraces. I gave my camera to Diana for her to take a picture of me with the llamas. Well, that didn’t go too well. No one told me that llamas spit! This peaceful looking animal made the weirdest sound and spit at me. I had this GREEN stuff all over my jacket. It smelled so, so bad! Needless to say, the other two fell on the grass laughing, so hard that they couldn’t catch their breath. Thanks llamas, way to ruin my jacket and my trip to Machu Picchu!!!!!