For every reason you think of to stay safely at home and to not visit Peru, I hope I already gave you others that will change your mind. In case you missed my two previous articles about this beautiful country, I recommend you to read the one about my experience at the hospital and the excursion to Colca Canyon and definitely the one about Titicaca lake.
About those reasons though, I think you’ll be persuaded to go by the end of this article. It’s the last one about my stay in South America, the most memorable combo vacation/internship ever. Obviously, any report about a trip to Peru would be totally useless without shared thoughts and experiences about this Wonder of the World. I will now introduce you to the beauty of Machu Picchu!
To arrive in Cuzco we had a 10 hour overnight bus drive from Arequipa with Cruz del Sur. NOTE: This is a highly reliable bus company, you won’t experience any problems with them. I’m giving you the recommendation because you should be very aware of which bus company to choose for your excursions. In Peru, fatal accidents with busses are everyday occurences because of untrustworthy companies or drivers, particularly in Winter!
Anyway, at our place in Cuzco the first thing we did was taking a long, hot shower. In Arequipa we were forced to shower in ice cold water so you can imagine how happy we were. It’s a moment you regret to take little things like hot showers for granted!
After a good siësta our guide Daniël took us to The Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo. These are two archeological sites, dating from Inca times. We were impressed by both because of the incredible views! Near The Sacred Valley we visited a little town, where two ladies demonstrated how they color the alpaca wool with natural ingredients. Really awesome to see!
Our journey to Machu Picchu continued. In a little van, we drove all the way up to over 2000 meters through the Andes and Amazon forest (where I drove myself for a while, such a cool experience!). I must say that the road to Machu Picchu is almost as spectacular as the monument itself. We stopped several times to take photos of the misty Andes.
After a boring dinner (chicken instead of pizza or something, AGAIN), we had a short night’s rest. We were more than ready for the climax of our Peruvian adventure! There are several organised trails and treks to Machu Picchu such as the Inca Trail or the Salkantay Trek. Unfortunately us girls were too late to book one of these so we got there by train. I must admit that after all, it was the best option for us haha!
“And welcome ladies, to Machu Picchu”, said Daniël. I remember like it was yesterday, how he stepped aside when he spoke those words to give us a first glimpse of the huge site. This was what we had been looking forward to so much! For once, rumours are so right: it’s even more impressive in real life. It’s hard to believe that the Inca’s built it at such great height with stones that weren’t even there. Yet proof there is. Machu Picchu’s purpose will forever be a mystery. Probably it served as some sort of sacred place to be closer to the Gods and have better connection with them this way. It was a place to simmer down and find peace within yourself. A bit like yoga schools nowadays, how cool is that?!
Sad to leave after walking through the site, we got down again by following the train tracks. A hike of 3 hours long, just a matter of feeling sporty after all! It had been a long day, so Daniël proposed to go to Aguas Calientes together. Aguas Calientes are natural hotsprings, not far from Machu Picchu. The water was nice and warm, stimulating our muscles and whole body to recover. Unfortunately, the fun was short-lived. Once we got out of the water our legs and bums started to itch like hell. Only the day after, the nasty bites showed up all over our bodies. While scratching for several days, we wondered wether the many mosquitos or hot spring parasites were responsible for this. Until today that question stays unanswered, luckily the spots have faded!
In my opinion this was our most memorable and fun excursion of all three. Secretly I’m hoping that one day I can go back to Machu Picchu and show my companions what I saw many years before. Knowing that my eyes will sparkle the same way, sincerely, as they did the first time.
To end this series of posts about Peru, I’d like to share a thought from Daniël with you. His intentions were to inspire us on our trip together and make us familiar with the Peruvian way of life, but also way of thinking. We will carry it with us for the rest of our lives:
“While you have the beauty of your eyes still open, enjoy as much as you can. Because when you will die, you’ll have time to sleep and rest forever”