I remember the moment I first saw Machu Picchu in Peru in person. I had seen several pictures of it and had researched since the time we booked our tickets. I thought I knew it all but standing there watching the magnificent Machu Picchu in person felt unreal. It blew my mind and senses, and I felt every emotion from being awe struck to absolute serenity. I have relived that moment every time I talk about it to someone, and I still stand spellbound and humbled to have visited Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca site in the Cusco area of Peru. While there are several Inca sites around Peru, Machu Picchu is the center of Peruvian tourism. It is located in the Sacred Valley about 80 kilometers from Cusco. Visiting the magnificent Machu Picchu was a dream and we were determined to spend as many days as possible enjoying Cusco and Machu Picchu. After a long flight from San Francisco to Cusco Peru, we were welcomed by the city of Cusco. Like many, I assumed Cusco would be bustling with activity and tourism. The city was quaint and serene. We had ten days in Cusco and we had not decided when we were planning on conquering Machu Picchu. My husband came down with altitude sickness which neither of us were aware of. After three days of constant headaches, mood swings and fatigue, he was diagnosed with altitude sickness. Few days of oxygen and we were ready to visit Machu Picchu. We took a train and then a bus to the foothills of the Inca site. We hired one of the guides on site and began our hike. We walked through the ruins and came face to face with Machu Picchu. As we scaled the mountains, we were briefed on how Machu Picchu was created manually by the Inca people. Every rock, every stone was carried and placed strategically. As an engineer, I couldn’t help but marvel at the masterpiece ahead of me.
With every step that I took scaling Machu Picchu I felt serenity engulf me. Post cards and pictures could not do justice to the magnificence of the place. We were told they limit the number of people hiking Machu Picchu to 80 a day. We were fortunate to have hiked Machu Picchu and will always remain spellbound and humbled by the experience.