I was first introduced to Machu Picchu when I read the Celestine Prophecy nearly 20 years ago. From that point on, I wanted to visit Peru. It seemed inaccessible at the time, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming.
I imagined hiking the Inca Trail and watching the sunrise over the historic site. I imagined feeling the energy of an ancient culture long since passed. I dreamed of adventure. But I never went.
Later in life, when I had the means to travel, I chose other destinations before Peru. I traveled through Europe, Asia and Australia. North Africa. Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Central America, but never Peru.
I’m not sure why. Perhaps part of the reason was that I always wanted Peru to be the far off exotic place it was in my mind two decades ago. But over the years, more and more tourists visited Machu Picchu each year and now they are limiting access to the site. So I decided it was finally time to go.
Machu Picchu was just as I imagined. Beautiful. Ancient. Inspiring.
We didn’t hike the Inca Trail, and I’m glad for that! Instead, we stayed in the Sacred Valley for a night and took the train to Aguas Calientes–the small town at the base of the site. We hired a private guide to meet us at the bus queue at 4:45 a.m. Our guide saved us a spot in line and we hopped on to one of the first buses up the mountain with very little wait.
We entered the site as soon as it opened and our skilled guide took us around the less traveled path. He told us about the history of the site and showed us pictures taken throughout the last century. Of course we took plenty of our own pictures, too.
We wandered and wondered–absolutely mesmerized by each view.
A journey I’ve wanted to take for 20 years lasted two hours and was worth every minute of dreaming, planning and seeing.
The best part is that there’s much more of Peru still to see.