By the time we got to Machu Picchu it was pouring. Don’t ask me why but I had not remotely prepared for this. I knew it was the rainy season. I didn’t know how close to the Amazon we really were. I didn’t calculate the details well at all.
So, we got off the train in a downpour and the first thing I bought was hats. You notice he is in a blazer and I’m in a leather jacket. So not the right fashion choices for the situation.
We then took this very twisty, turny bus ride up a mountain that took us to our hotel, which happens to be the only hotel right up at the top of the site. It’s like staying at the entrance to Disneyland if you are going to spend your days in the park. That part I had planned well.
Once we got there we didn’t waste any time. Luis said get ready and we will go hike. The rain did not seem to deter him in the least.
But the second problem we had was we are not hikers and we had not packed for hiking either.
I had jeans and sneakers. We had no rain gear, no backpack, nothing. So Taylor and I ran to the gift shop and picked up whatever we could find that might work. They did not have much. They didn’t even have sweatshirts. I did get the last four rain ponchos as there had clearly been a run on them that day. It took a bit of prodding to get Lucy to put hers on.
Once we were quasi outfitted we headed in.
Machu Picchu is now one the Seven New Wonders of the World. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are very strict about how many people get in. They issue only 2500 tickets per day. To put it in perspective on a really busy day Disneyland in Orlando has up to 70,000 people; A quiet day there sees 40,000.
So, you have to book in advance and you are not allowed in without showing your passport, you have to book and reserve place for which mountain you want to climb. There is no spur of the moment adventures where Machu Picchu is concerned.
As clichéd as it sounds, words do not describe the experience. And if I try and put it into words they will all be clichéd. It takes your breath away – that is pathetic, but it does, in more ways than one. Lack of oxygen and the breadth and beauty of it all. It’s other worldly. That’s just lame sounding – but it’s true. It emanates an earthly spirituality, that has nothing to do with religion, but transports you to a place of peace and calm – again, a feeble attempt at transmitting what it feels like to stand in the midst of this ancient Incan…part of the mystery is also no one still does not know what it actually was. Was it a weekend retreat for the Incan Emperors? Was it village for the elites of the time? The popular explanation at the moment is that it might have been a regional capital for one of the four districts that made up the Incan Empire.
Whatever it was – it is one of the most breathtaking places I have ever seen.
And in this case pictures do tell a much better story than words.