At this very moment, I am sitting in the middle of the Peruvian Jungle at the base of Machu Picchu. Even though I have about 100 strange bites on my legs and the room is spinning from the 11,000 ft altitude, I couldn’t be happier. What makes it even better is my entire family is here as well! It is so good to see them after being away for 5 months and, I’m not going to lie, the nice hotels for the next two weeks are definitely a plus! The town we are staying in, Aguas Calientes, is surrounded by steep rock cliffs, lush forests, and has a raging river running right through the middle of town. The markets are full of great Peruvian crafts (don’t worry everyone, I’ll be bringing back presents) and there are exotic birds and flowers all over. The surrounding areas are straight out of the Jungle Book and we were even able to eat a prickly pear! (We’ve got the bare-necessities, the simple bare-necessities, forget about your worries and your doubts, yeah man!) Ok enough with the Jungle Book references…
Yesterday was one of the longest days of my life, but also one of the best! We woke up at 4:30am and took a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. From there, we boarded a bus that took us up a winding road to the ruins of Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan city built in the 1400s. It is nestled so high up in the clouds that the empire-raiding Spaniards never found it. We walked around the ruins all day, and I couldn’t believe the attention to detail that went into building it. The entire city was built from large granite stones, taking over 100 years to build and was never considered to be finished.
After lunch we sipped on some coca tea (which is completely legal here and is supposed to help with altitude sickness) then we hiked up to the sun gate, the entrance to the city, and had spectacular panoramic views of the ruins. We even had a chance to hike part of the Inca Trail. It is the rainy season in Peru right now, so it was raining off and on all day, but the sun made an appearance a few times and we were even able to see a rainbow!
Cathedral in Plaza Armas. We had to stop in Cusco for a night before heading for Machu Picchu and it was beautiful.
Mom and Dad sipping Coca tea at the hotel!
These little guys were running all over the ruins
Beautiful rainbow we saw right before leaving!
All in all Machu Picchu was everything and more than we had expected it to be. Luckily, the one day we had at Machu Picchu was more than enough to be able to see everything. We only had a few days in Peru, but it was by far one of my favorite Countries I have visited. The people are very friendly, the food is amazing, and the scenery is to die for. I am sad to be leaving so soon, but also very excited to continue on to our next stop in Chile, where we will ring in the New Year in Santiago.