Three Small Words for Machu Picchu

There are thousands of words you could use to describe Machu Picchu. So many, in fact, I am struggling to select the best ones. I think, however, if I had to choose three they would be: beautiful, extraordinary, and powerful. Standing before this ancient wonder I was in awe, amazement, and in absolute admiration. One week later, as I am recalling the memory of the experience, I can still feel its immense presence.
We arrived at the gates of Machu Picchu around 6 in the morning. The weather was cooperating beautifully and Jeremy and I were itching with anticipation to get inside.  For three hours we were guided around the ruins. Our tour detailed the history, mechanics and spirituality of this abandoned city that had only been occupied for 60 years. I don’t need to go into the details of these legendary Inca ruins, albeit fascinating. The Discovery Channel has enough documentaries on that. Although I will remind you that the city includes several features in addition to what you see on the tour. There’s the Inca bridge, Puerta del Sol (the sun gate), and Huanyapicchu peak (the mountain I’m pointing to in the photo). All of which were on our “to see” list for the day. 

Tip: It is completely possible to spend two days exploring and touring this majestic hill-top. Jeremy and I were able to do it all in 10 hours at a near running pace, but I would totally recommend taking your time and not missing out on any of it.
At the conclusion of our tour we said goodbye our hiking group and headed to the trail head of Huanyapicchu. Our picture perfect weather suddenly shifted to a cold, heavy rain, but we continued the steep staircase climb to the top of Huanyapicchu, minding our footing on the slippery steps and exposure to the distance thunder. It was a short yet exhilarating climb. We were drenched by the rain and shaking from the heights by the time we reached the summit. At the top, Pachamama herself greeted us, opening up the sky and allowing an impressive aerial view of Machu Picchu and the valley below.
After a quick and expensive lunch outside the grounds, we rushed back in to visit the Inca Bridge. Our train to Cuzco was leaving at 6:15, so we were a little pressed for time. Hastily, we made the decision the race up to the Sun Gate as well. It was said to be a 40 minute hike, back-tracking on the Inca Trail, but we made it there in 20. The decision turned out to be one of our best because the view of Machu Picchu from Sun Gate was by far the most magnificent. It was nearing late afternoon and the sun had lowered on the horizon, illuminating the ruins against the dark backdrop of forested mountains. For the first time all day, we sat. We sat for a while. Just staring and the beauty before us.
Everything about that day was so surreal I found it difficult to fully absorb the reality of where we were. I was exhausted from the experience, but wasn’t ready to leave it either. Together, we made a promise to come back some day, and left.

See more shots from Machu Picchu on Picture It!