New World, New Life

From the POV of Tambomachay, Cusco, Perú. The Andes Mountains.

Of course we left Huacachina, and then it was off to Cusco, our final destination in Perú. The trip from Ica, Perú to Cusco, Perú involved only a 18-hour bus ride. During this time I was also experiencing some of the difficulties of traveling relating to head and stomach problems, which made for a fantastic 18-hour trip, if one could imagine such a thing!

Finally we arrived after what seemed like four days and we made our way to the hostel we would stay at during our entire time in Cusco. Around this time I was of course overflowing with happiness relating to our arrival, and was excited about what we’d see, after a day-long siesta in the hostel. Our next day in Perú involved a city tour with Incan ruins of all kinds, but the second full day is when the real journey began.

On Thursday, August 11th, Taylor and I departed Cusco on a 6-hour bus ride to Aguascallientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. What they don’t tell you in the brochure is the last half of this long ride is on gravel roads and you have chance of whiplash around every corner. Thankfully, after surviving this ride, we arrived the Hydroelectric. Another difficulty of this trip were the next two and half hours, as we had to hike 7.5 miles from Hydroelectric to Aguascallientes. Luckily, the 7 and a half mile hike was an incredible way to experience nature.

Thursday was difficult, but so worth it for what Friday had in store for us.

The sign at the base of MaPi, taken around 4:50 AM local time.

Friday we had to hop out of bed by 4:30 and make sure we were making the walk over to the base of MaPi (the local name). Around 4:50 we arrived at the base and had to wait in line until about 5:05. The next hour of my life may have been one of the more difficult ones. 5.3 miles, and an hour of all uphill climbing we arrived at the entrance gate of one of the seven wonders of the world. The next four or five hours were almost indescribable with any form of expression. The special thing about Machu Picchu is that there is an energy about it. Maybe it’s walking almost 13 miles within a 24-hour period. Maybe it’s the morning air and a thousand people clustered into the same area. But there’s something incredibly special about this place. The tour guide spoke only in Spanish, not per our request, but that was the way it happened. Using our best translating abilities, Taylor and I deciphered some of the most important parts of the tour and took in what was necessary. The rest of the tour was us simply falling in love with this city in the sky.

Hands-down the best picture I took of my time in MaPi

Pictures will only do this landscape so much justice. I urge anyone interested in seeing more of the world to take this trip. There are definitely ways to travel without having to walk or hike. There is a train from Hydroelectric to Aguascallientes, and a bus that goes all the way up MaPi. You don’t have to walk your legs until they stop working in order to see this place, but it was much worth the difficulty. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys the outdoors, emotions, or just being alive. It is a must see.

Taylor and I took the bus down the hill, and later in the day we took the train back to the Hydroelectric, and then the bus back to Cusco. The day was full of traveling in vehicles, but the first 6 hours of that day were much worth the rest.

Our next day involved an amazing trip up to Moras-Moray for some more amazing scenery, and even an incredible salt mine.

The salt mines in Maras!

Obviously this isn’t something you get to see everyday, thus this was one of the more fascinating parts of our trip! We were able to go down and get a closer look at the mines. I accidentally stepped on one of the mines, but it was very tough, just like stepping on any solid ground. This was a very interesting part of our trip. The shops here also had a ton of cool food to offer, all of course seasoned with the local salt.

The next day, we visited Tipón, Cusco, Perú. Tipón has some very interesting history relating to irrigation and agriculture. Tipón was used to bring water down from the mountains to areas where there wasn’t a water source readily available. The history there was amazing.

Taylor and I remained in Perú until Wednesday, August 17th when we then took our flight up to Quito, Ecuador. Not without issues of course, our flight was scheduled for the 16th, but issues with our first flight from Cusco to Lima ended in our seats on our next flight to Quito being cancelled without refund. We were forced to buy tickets for the next day after being on the phone for a few hours with an agency. This was an unfortunate waste of about $250, but at this point in the trip, we were definitely ready to be in Quito!

The most inspirational part of our trip in Perú was most definitely Machu Picchu. The whole trip surrounding the experience just gave the energy in MaPi that much more significance. I believe that this trip has given me an energy, a profoundness, that I had been lacking before. I have seen more new things in two weeks than I had in four or five years previously. I believe the wanderlust is beginning to set in.

More posts to come… Sam

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