“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page.” ~ St Augustine
Hi again everyone. Since I’ve been blogging, many people have remarked on my background and asked where the photo was taken. The two places which I have most wanted to see in my life, were the pyramids of Egypt, which we did in 1993, and second on my bucket list were the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru.
In August 2003, our son was getting married at Lake Tahoe in California, so we decided to do a round the world trip, incorporating Mum-in-law’s 90th birthday in England and then just carrying on round until we eventually arrived home almost two months later. It was a truly wonderful experience and as you can imagine, we visited some amazing and interesting places. Our journey took us from South Africa to London and then on to Rio de Janeiro. From there we flew to La Paz in Bolivia and then crossed Lake Titicaca into Peru. We then travelled by road to Cuzco in south-eastern Peru from where we had a very early morning start for our four-hour train ride to the town of Aguas Calientes, the gateway village to Machu Picchu.
We arrived at Pueblo station.
The railway track runs down the main street, and either side are stalls and shops, which we so enjoyed looking around.
This stallholder had nodded off amidst her colourful display of wares.
After booking into our hotel, which was situated in a side alley, we had quite a scary bus ride up to the “Lost City of the Incas,” along the steep and winding road, barely wide enough for our vehicle, with hairpin bends. Of course we met other coaches on their way down, and miraculously managed to squeeze past them whilst it seemed my heart wobbled around in my mouth
This ancient Inca city, believed by most archaeologists to have been built as an estate for the Inca emperor, Pachacuti (1438-72), lay hidden amidst dense jungle-covered mountains until 1911, when an American historian, Hiram Bingham, announced his discovery of it.
The well-preserved ruins, overlooking the Vilcanata river valley, seem to almost cling to the steep hillside, and are surrounded by colossal green mountains. Even if you’ve ever seen photos of this wondrous structure, it doesn’t really prepare you for the breath-taking and awe-inspiring sight when you see it firsthand.
You realise when you get there, that you don’t just ‘visit’ Machu Picchu, but feel as though you are actually making a pilgrimage there. The Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, wrote
“Machu Picchu is a trip to the serenity of the soul, to the eternal fusion with the cosmos; where we feel our fragility. It is one of the greatest marvels of South America. A resting place of butterflies in the epicentre of the great circle of life. One more miracle.”
We spent a whole day wandering around this indescribably beautiful place. We started off in a group with a guide, but her English was so bad that we decided to go off on our own and see what we could find. There were cute llamas grazing along the way.
Much further up, we came upon this massive rock which is believed to have healing powers. I didn’t have anything which needed healing, but thought I would give it a try anyway.
Here, close to an open-fronted hut is a carved stone, called the Funerary Stone.
Historians think that it was an altar on which the Incas used to sacrifice llamas. Professor Bingham believed that it may have been used as a mortuary slab on which the dead were laid out in the sun to dry, before mummification. Just above this rock, he found a cemetery containing a large number of skeletons.
The site, which is South America’s most popular tourist destination, has been reconstructed, and the work is still ongoing. We were fortunate that it wasn’t very crowded on the two days that we were there. The extremely high altitude makes it quite tiring to clamber around the site and then climb up to this spot from where we had this stunning view.
Looking at these pics, it looks as though we had the whole place to ourselves, but that wasn’t the case. There were many other visitors, but we obviously managed to steer clear of them most of the time.
From Peru, we flew to Ecuador and then on to the wedding. After the celebrations, we were off to Hawaii, for a much needed relaxing beach holiday, after which we did a wonderful cruise of The Great Barrier Reef, before flying home via Singapore. What a great trip that was, and one day I’ll put some more photos up for you to see.
Have a great day everyone. Chat again soon.