It was a hairy, bumpy ride with amazing views as we twisted back and forth up the narrow road to the entrance of the fabled Lost City of the Incas. The anticipation was extreme - I had dreamed of visiting this spiritual place for most of my life since hearing about it way back in school, and I had always been fascinated by the myths and magic that surround this enchanting city. Once through the entrance gates, we were confronted by a massive cliff, and once we rounded its side, the Lost City was right before our eyes. We couldn’t believe it! It was majestic and massive, much larger and more serene than any picture or movie could ever try to show. It was peaceful and tranquil, and it took our breath away… the terraces where the workers once grew food for the city, the temples and palace built of stone, buildings that were so meticulously crafted and have stood for centuries … they were astounding and no doubt every visitor has asked the same question: how on earth did they build this way up here?!! We walked around for hours and hours, touring the terraces, the temples and various shrines, all while our guide Percy showed us the intricacies of the city; how things were built and what each building or landmark was used for, what they grew in the terraces and the details of some of the magical myths and beliefs that the locals held – some which are still celebrated today. He talked about how archaeologists from across the globe are still finding new data on the Inca Empire and their legacy even today, and told us stories of the legendary Incas, their power and craftsmanship… showing us where paths or trails were cut across the mountain tops - towards the east where the sun rose up through the sun gate, and to the west following the setting sun, way up north and then down to the south, reaching into areas of Peru as far as they could travel, seeking oceans, rivers and lakes … pathways that today are still being found and investigated. How ingenious they were, to follow the earth’s rotation and create cities and buildings amongst the Andes while harnessing the power of the sun! We learned so much that day and it aided our appreciation of the magnificence of this beautiful place. How magical and serene it is.
How lucky we were to be able to return the next day to follow an Inca trail to the top of Whaynapicchu - the massive mountain behind the Citadel of Machu Picchu, and then continue east across the city once again to the pathway to the Sun Gate (Intipicchu), meeting the Inca Trail from Cuzco … all the while gaining a new perspective and fantastic views of this magical Lost City of The Incas. It is a place of beauty and serenity, yet it is powerful and silent, keeping its mysteries to itself within the massive stone walls high in the valley almost touching the sky. It is truly one of the most beautiful places I have had the fortune to visit and explore.
For the rest of my life, whenever I reflect on our visit to Machu Picchu, I will remember the stillness -so peaceful and gentle yet so mysterious.