A three week visit to South America seemed a good way to celebrate our twenty fifth wedding anniversary. Machu Picchu was definitely going to be the star of the trip as far as I was concerned… and I wasn’t disappointed.
Like all good things you have to work hard to get there: a taxi ride to the station, a three and a half hour train ride and then a 45 minute bus ride up to the site. Many of course trek to the site, taking anything from one to three days.
As the bus ascends the winding road to the site you see nothing but mountains all around , with very steep drops down to narrow valleys.There is no guessing at the way this vertiginous fortress of mountains is hiding at its heart a place of extraordinary domesticity. But after what seems like hours of climbing with only mountains for walls, we turn a corner and there it is : Machu Picchu right at the centre . This plateau of stepped areas of buildings and terraces is laid out in a circle within the centre of these magnificent mountains.Parts of buildings which once housed the last of an Incan nation stand strong , the homes, the store houses, the Guard’s House up high, and the Temple of the Sun.
What is overwhelming, along with this absolutely dramatic view, is the great sense of peace. The birds wheel overhead chirping gently, the lamas graze every so often emitting little “peep” sounds, and these mountains just go on standing there magnificent, omnipresent, exuding a sense of power and and a protective peacefulness.
I stand and gaze out at them and imagine the experience of these Incans who lived here in this paradise for only sixty years. With the Conquistadors coming ever nearer, they left Machu Picchu as the only way to protect it from being discovered . What a decision to have to make; to put the purity and the power of this nature kingdom beyond their own needs.They left it to be covered over by Mother Nature and walked off to create a new settlement.