Mystical Machu Picchu

One of my first “bucket list” trips was to Machu Picchu, Peru.

I was recently out of a bad relationship and looking for some spiritual sustenance with which to salve my lovelorn heart.

I had always dreamed of hiking the Inca trail, but when I learned camping was part of the experience, I just had to say no. 

I’m all about adventure and cultural immersion, but I don’t sleep on the ground. 

Every girl has her limits. 

Instead, I chose to do hikes around cities and villages I visited. 

The trek has since developed luxury levels and you can do several different routes to the Incan city with restful stops at gorgeous well-appointed mountain-side lodges.

International arrival was in the capital of Lima, a huge, sprawling demagogue of a city with its unrelenting traffic and constant cautions as to “safe zones.”

Majority of mid to upper classes have private drivers and bodyguards as precautions.

Yet, there are museums with great works of art, archeological sites, beach-front boardwalks, the world-renowned Historical Centre and culinary delights which make Lima a vibrant cosmopolitan stopover.

The gateway to Machu Picchu is Cusco, the capital city of the Incan Empire. 

A short flight from Lima, this city acts as a base from which the adventurous traveller acclimatizes before beginning any strenuous activity. 

Located 3,400 metres above sea level, one is astonished at how difficult even the simplest act of climbing stairs can be. 

Thankfully, most people adjust within a day or so. 

Cusco is a melting pot, of sorts. 

Everyone looking to explore Machu Picchu travels via this city and therefore every nationality imaginable socializes over tales of experience or expectation at the vast assortment of nightlife venues which blend in among the colonial architecture found in the main square. 

Day trips out to the Sacsayhuaman (Sexy Woman) ruins and the glorious Sacred Valley are great ways to pass the time.

The trip from Cusco to Agua Calientas, which is located at the base of Machu Picchu, is done by train.

The journey highlights the beauty of the Urubamba River Valley and gives a glimpse into the life of the indigenous Quechua people who farm the area. 

If you have time, explore the villages of Ollantaytambo and Pisac and marvel at the mountainside carvings, terraces and wonderful artisan markets. 

Agua Calientas exists simply as the end of the rail track; accommodations range from basic to moderate. 

The focus is on the sunrise bus ride to the summit.

Everyone’s experience with Machu Picchu is unique. 

I was awed by the spiritual essence which emanated thru the early morning mists. 

I disengaged myself from the throng of tourists and made way to the quiet outer limits of the site. 

Tentatively walking pathways dating back thousands of years, I felt the ache in my heart dissipate and my joie de vivre return. 

Some wonder at the lost knowledge of the Incan Empire and stare in disbelief at the intricate masonry of her walls, which have withstood countless tremors.

For me, my memories of Machu Picchu and her secrets have remained a source of calm and balance in a sometimes chaotic life. 

It was an experience for which I remain so appreciative.




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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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