I didn’t know the trek from Cuzco to Machu Picchu would be 4+ hours.
Traveling to the famed locale during the rainy season, I had to take a 90 minute bus ride, a two hour train ride, and then another 30 minute bus ride to reach the entrance.
And it was worth every minute.
As the beautiful and prompt Peru Rail train snaked through breathtaking natural scenery of river and forest, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the Inca’s archaeological feat.
Here we are in 2015 and it still takes 4+ hours to reach Machu Picchu. Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu Pueblo, the nearest town to the site, is inaccessible by car. In 2015.
Yet the Inca’s built a city in the mountains that continues to awe despite today’s airplanes, space shuttles, and deep sea exploration. Where would we be as a society if the Spanish conquistadors hadn’t destroyed Incan civilization and the knowledge that went along with it?
Machu Picchu, considered one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, boasts of living quarters, religious sections, areas for science experiments and star gazing. The city opens up to wind breezes and contains religious symbolism to honor the gods. It is the City Upon the Hill that the Puritans wanted and the Incans created.
Though I went from wearing a sweater, to a poncho, to a shirt, to a jacket and scarf all within one visit thanks to temperamental weather, Machu Picchu entranced me. By the time I visited the small museum located about 15 minutes from Aguas Calientes, I was exhausted but still in awe (side note: I wouldn’t recommend touring Machu Picchu the same day that one arrives from Cuzco).
The day closed with me shamelessly eating two entrees at The Tree House, a beautiful little restaurant tucked within Aguas Calientes. While working on my first helping of ravioli, I ended up chatting with an American father and daughter. They stroked my ego when they admitted they thought I wasn’t American because they heard me speaking only Spanish with my tour guide while in Machu Picchu (yes to language progress!).
That night as the river roared outside my hotel room window I couldn’t help but think I have to return. Peru is nothing short of magic, and Machu Picchu is the spell.