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The Magic of Machu Picchu
El Viaje de Peru 2012

The local market in CuscoThe local market in Cusco (Jim Sullivan)
The food on our trip had been so healthy; we knew our senses would be ready for this day. Adventure Life had all of the tickets once again, and we were the early birds for the bus. We loaded easily with no waiting and began the twenty minute roller coaster ride up hill in a Mercedes bus holding about forty people. It seemed on the curves that the back of the bus was over the precipices as the front end darted ahead. Naturally passing another bus on the way down made everyone suck it in!

Entrance must be accompanied by with a passport. Once through the gate our bodies sensed being on the brink of an incredible experience. We were walking up a gradual stone walkway and automatically El Condor Passes filled my spirit. It was a melody that had been playing for months and the volume just went up! Jill said that she might cry. Melissa led the way.

The clouds were low and blowing, and a grayness and wispy whiteness on top of this mountain affirmed that we were in a sacred place. Strange that there were no people around us, and it was like we were alone. As we continued to slowly walk a short distance the angles of a stone roof line appeared with a window near the top. We were close. The path curved slightly, and within moments we were at a vantage point where the breadth and depth of the city lay before us.

Huayna Picchu was prominent and on the far side of Machu Picchu. Our eyes were gulping, and we were at a loss for words. Being among the first there, we knew that only the spirits of the Incas inhabited the surroundings. The wind and clouds were making it a movie, and even the llamas were cushed. Only our eyes moved.

Juan had mentioned that he had visited over three hundred times. We understood how that would be easy. Gradually as there were voices behind us we began to move forward along a path clearly marked as the direction to continue. As we were entering at about the middle, we recognized the Guard House above us, the Terraces, the living quarters and everything we had read about that could be seen from this vantage. Steepness entered into our feelings as did vastness.

Our guia would take time to now explain existing controversies and theories about this sacred place. Before the morning was over he had made me understand more than all of the books I had read. It was wonderful.

Hours later we would pass the gate to climb Huayna Picchu where Melissa, Jill and Juan would enter early the next morning. We were very happy to have the cloud cover and tentative weather as there were only a handful of other visitors there. We saw and absorbed everything that we could. The Condor Temple, the Temple of the Sun, the Three Doorways and Three Windows exhausted our expletives and superlatives. We were so happy we had prepared by reading and googling. The astronomy and geometry were only superseded by the unbelievable craftsmanship. Or is it the other way around?

We decided to hike to the Inca Drawbridge, a marvelous defensive structure. The very thought of passing over the logs that spanned the mote defied imagination. Close to the same area was the trail to Intipunku, the Sun Gate. Perched up above the city in the eastern sky was an edifice with huge pillars through which the morning sun passed. When we arrived, the rain had blocked the entire view of the city, but as we climbed up and looked over our shoulder, our imaginations had been sparked.

We had lost all sense of time and were mesmerized by our experience. To list each aspect and sight would be the subject of text books. We had been satiated, and it was a thirst well quenched. Tomorrow would be another day here.

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