Visiting the Incas

After 7 days and 4.600 kilometers it was a real pleasure to stay in one place for a bit. Cusco, once the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire, greeted us with sun, music and dancing on the streets. People are preparing for the big festival of the sun right after the winter solstice which brings a new year. And honestly, the dancing never stops!

I was lucky to enjoy the last few days in a great company and even managed to relax quite a bit, as Julian took the lead and filled our daily schedule with interesting activities. In the background however, we were both occupied with arranging the final details for our upcoming adventures. Julian bravely departed on a 4-day trek to the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu and I jumped on the train only because I wanted to be there first.

Since I was doing good on time, I soaked my muscles in an outside thermal swimming pools. My still painful ankle was extremely grateful.

As I arrived to the Machu Picchu I was blown away by the view and by the surrounding territory. How did Incas manage to construct this engineering masterpiece on such a difficult site? Surrounded by mountains, so they could pray to them, concurring the landslides and unstable earth with terraces and spending at least half of the time it took to build Machu Picchu to build its foundation. Arranging the stonework to perfection, providing good drainage, water system, fountains, solar observatories, temples… and here would be a good time to mention they had no written language, no iron or steel, they did not use the wheel and still, Machu Picchu has lasted for some 500 years.

For me personally this is the most mind-blowing and fascinating thing ever build by a man. That’s why I woke up before 5 am the next morning and ran down the hill to catch the first bus back to Machu Picchu, only to realize that there is a huge line of people, patiently queuing since 3 am already. I was hoping to get one of the 400 tickets they give out to hike the Wayanapichu mountain (young peak) but of corse that never happened. To keep myself from crying and as a reward for waking up so early, I decided to hike the Machupicchu mountain (old peak) instead. In between bitting my knees on the steep rocky and on some moments treacherous hills, I became very doubtful if this could really be considered as a reward. There was no end to the steps and hills. But the magnificent view at the end made me forget about the burning muscles and I feel to the ground, mouth and eyes opened with astonishment.

As I was in total balance with the universe, an Australian couple reached the peak of the mountain as well. If I look at my travel statistics so far, I would have to say that the Oz company suits me the most. The energy simply fits! We hiked back down together and later Nerelia and I went on a llama hunt. Hunt for cuddles and photographs that is. As it turned out, Machu Picchu llamas are well used to tourists, very curious and if you catch them on a good day they also don’t mind to pose for a picture.

On the 4-hour train ride back to Cusco I enjoyed a company of yet another Australian lady. Time passed quickly and so will the night as I am catching an early flight to Lima. From there I fly deep into the Amazon rainforest for an experience of a lifetime. Not only will I be slapping mosquitos, jumping trees with monkeys, swimming with anacondas but also exploring the very deep layers of myself with a help of shamans. With a whiter shade of my soul and a sharper focus, I will return to Lima in about a week. If you don’t hear from me, please send Tarzan to the rescue.

About Barbi & Ira