machu picchu, peru: reflection
As I set off for my day in Machu Picchu, I could not believe it! I was overcome with emotion as it sunk in that I was seeing the top Wonder of the World and a place that has been on my list of sights for a very long time. The nearly 4 hour train ride to the town of Macchu Picchu was absolutely stunning. Only 57 miles away, we wound all around the mountains. The steep mountains, rivers, streams, falls, rocks and trees were so beautiful. The conductor also pointed out the snow-topped mountain many climbers scale and a couple of lodges so high up the mountain coming out, it seemed impossible for them not to fall!
Arriving to the town of Machu Picchu (or Aguas Calientes), I was filled with excitement! The town itself is very cute and quaint- nicely tucked in the valley amongst the mountains. The small but hilly town is filled with cafes, restaurants, etc. After my time at Machu Picchu it was fun to walk around here and unwind before my train. As I passed through the streets, my ears were filled with intermittent uproars depending on the performance of the futbol players .
Since I was still in recovery mode, I chose to take the bus up and down to Machu Picchu. It only took about 20 minutes of winding to get to the top and once I arrived, my jaw dropped. I have seen countless photos of this wonderful site, however, being there and being consumed by the mountains and ruins was such a spectacular site. I sat for a bit overlooking the mountains and ruins, taking it all in. Thinking of all of the people and their stories that have passed through here from the beginning.
I then did the about 1 hour uphill hike to sun gate at the top of Machu Picchu Mountain. The high altitude associated with the hike made it out to be much harder than anticipated and I felt quite out of breath at times. The feelings of accomplishment and gratitude when I reached the top were incredible. I sat amongst the other hikers for about an hour meditating and listening to music. It was one of those out of body experiences that barely even felt real. I truly felt on top of the world, empowered and that I could do anything.
As I descended back down the hill, I skipped and hopped and jumped, on such a high after this experience. I then weaved my way in and out of the actual ruins. Although I did not get a tour guide, I made sure to read up on Machu Picchu on my ride home. It is amazing the history here and the mysteries still exist with this awe-inspiring place. I felt so grateful to be surrounded my such natural beauty in our amazing world.
On the train ride back to Cusco, I felt a bit sick from altitude and motion sickness (as to be expected!). I was grateful for the nice families and guides I was seated with and the amazing train attendants who were so gracious and kind. Such goodness everywhere!