The change in scenery was a definite indication we had arrived to Cusco, Perú. Being engulfed by puffy, white cotton clouds while soaring through the air had me feeling like a kid in a candy shop, completely amazed and speechless, well at least for a minute. Once we arrived to our hotel we enjoyed a cup of coca tea while we completed some paper work. Our City Tour of Cusco followed right after with some amazing site seeing from various exceptional churches with incredible history to ruins with unbelievable views. Places we visited include: Qoricancha, The Cathedral, Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, Puka Pukara, and Tambomachay. The rest of the day was given to us to explore and rest up before our voyage to Machu Picchu.
The following day while half-asleep we enjoyed a healthy breakfast- that included my favorite maracuyá and papaya juices- at 3:20am before venturing out on our rocky one-hour bus ride to the train station of Poroy. Once at the train station we hopped on to an hour and a half ride towards Aguas Calientes. It was my first time ever on a train so I was overly excited! Unfortunately, our train wasn’t on a high-speed rail line, but on the bright side the moderate speed offered us the attempt to relax while we traveled closely on the edge of a deadly cliff. After the successful train ride, we received our bus passes to travel up the mountain where we hopped onto an additional bus after climbing a flight of stairs. Finally, once we arrived to the Machu Picchu hike entrance and I received my stamp on my ticket I then realized I was about to view one of the “New” Seven Wonders of the World- cross that off my bucket list! Thankfully, my body handled the extreme altitude change very well, but the climb was definitely a workout that included several stops for scenery shots. During the climb, our tour guide enlightened us with historical background on Machu Picchu and fascinating legends.
Machu Picchu’s Short-Historical Synopsis: In order to save Machu Picchu from being discovered and destroyed by the Spaniards, who were destroying the Inca ruins, the Incas decided to relocate. Before heading off into the wilderness, the trail that leads from Machu Picchu to Cusco was blocked preventing any leads to its discovery. Eventually, Hiram Bingham discovered it. Side note, the reason behind the ruins’ unique architecture was to prevent the structures from collapsing during an earthquake.
At the top of the mountain, as I looked out towards Machu Picchu I was breath taken not only due to the hike, but also the view. It’s an honor to see, touch and examine the creations humans have constructed with their bare hands. Furthermore, to appreciate and admire the natural wonders that God himself has created for us to remember His creativity, His eye for beauty and His love for us. With every view my eyes captured I’m sure my facial expressions displayed my gratitude.
After exploring Machu Picchu we headed down the mountain to the Sanctuary Lodge where we devoured a buffet of Peruvian dishes, while outside it began drizzling leading into a gush- saving us from a complete drench. During our lunch, we awed over the performance of some very talented musician men playing soothing instrumental beats. Eventually, we ventured back down into town where we waited at the train station to depart to Cusco.
On our final day in Cusco we visited the Sacred Valley were we learned that the engraved initials on the mountains belonged to high educational institutes. Upon our travel to Urubamba where our restaurant was located we encountered a woman roosting several Ginny pigs on an open fire. With a full tummy, we then headed to Ollantytambo, which is the location of the famous Sun Temple where the tragic fights against the Incas and the Spaniards occurred. We finished our tour with a visit to the famous craft market, Pisac, where the indigenous people whose spoken language is Quechua demonstrated their method of crafting. Back in town, I completed my stay in Cusco with placing my bargaining skills into play at the various shops near the Plaza!