Beauty Beyond Compare

Machu Picchu Travel Blog

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Aguas Caliente at the train station

The photographs and books I have read for most of my life just don't do it justice.

I caught a cab to the train station early, early in the morning. I took the backpacker train, so no fluff. However, they did serve a really nice cocoa leaf tea that really tasted good and seemed to give me a little lift. The people on the train were not typical tourists. Those rode the Hiram Bingham train, which is first class and SPENDY. Those I shared a ride with me were very similar to myself, other than my age. Most of the backpackers were under 30 and European. I was over 40, solo and American. I was a bit bitter...I was lucky to have 2 weeks and most of the people I met were on the road for 6 months to 2 years! Damn! However, they were all wonderful to me, especially when the realized I was s single woman, over 40, traveling alone in a 3rd world country and I didn't speak the language.

Takes your breath away...Huyana Picchu
I think most thought I was crazy, but I feel like crazy isn't the word. I am living.

After the long, long train ride, which is slow, steep and, after the initial excitement of being on the way, boring. However, after about 3 hours, we could feel the excitement as we began getting closer and closer to Aguas Calientes, which is the town at the base of the ruins.

Aguas is very, very tourist oriented, but for good reason. With the location, this is the only income the town has. It is still very nice and the people, again, friendly. Actually, I went to the ATM, got some funds and walked off. I was chased down my a local person....I had left my Visa card in the ATM machine.

..HOW GREAT IS THAT? He wanted to make sure I didn't lose it. You won't find that in many places. I feel blessed for so many wonderful people while I was on my trip!

I got my bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. There is no other way up unless you want to walk, which would be fine, except it is straight up the damn hill! I wanted to save my energy!

We arrived, I had my passport stamped at the gate (really? That seemed rather strange since it is a tourist attraction, not a country) and went in. When you enter and top the first of the hill it hits you - the pictures did nothing for this place. First of all, you can feel energy. Not just energy from tourists, but a real energy pulsing in the earth and in the air.

I am not one to ever show emotion, but I clearly remember standing at the crest of the hill for almost 20 minutes with tears rolling down my face.

The images of life and history were overwhelming. The quiet and beauty made me feel like I was alone in the world, making a discovery. I did feel silly when I realized what I had been doing. However, throughout the morning, I began to notice the same behavior from others. In our own minds, we were each Hiram Bingham, discovering the most amazing site in the world.

The photos I took are here to remind me that a lifetime of wishing and working towards a goal does pay off. Again, I don't think I was alone in this thought. Throughout the ruins you would find someone sitting and meditating. Someone sitting alone reading. Someone sitting alone, mouth open in amazement at the beauty.  Someone standing with a tear on their face, thanking the gods for the opportunity to share this experience.

Guard shack from below...I did make the trip up the stairs.
I think I was each of these people at some time during my trek. As I write this blog, I find those emotions coming over me again.

I wish I had been able to trek to Huyana Picchu, however, with a knee injury and height issues, I thought it best. They have a sign at the entrance to the peak that if you are not healthy, don't go. If you suffer vertigo don't go. They don't do the rescue bit! :)

I am sure I will update this later with more thoughts, but in all honesty, they are so overwhelming right now, I still cannot write them down. My words would do no justice.

I leave you with the photographs to enjoy, and for those of you dreaming of going....the incentive to just do it. This life is short. Take in every moment, every day.


Jeroenadmiraal says:
Greaaat story! I canĀ“t wait to get there!! I booked the Inka Trail last weekend!
Posted on: Jan 22, 2009
Xstacey says:
I'm hoping to head there soon..loved your description!
Posted on: Apr 26, 2008
waterfyre says:
Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope experience it myself one day...
Posted on: Mar 04, 2008
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Aguas Caliente at the train station
Aguas Caliente at the train station
Takes your breath away...Huyana Pi…
Takes your breath away...Huyana P…
Guard shack from below...I did mak…
Guard shack from below...I did ma…
Stairs to the top
Stairs to the top
When every moment of life comes in…
When every moment of life comes i…
Flying staircase
Flying staircase
Can you believe how steep this is?
Can you believe how steep this is?
Napping...young llama at the ruins.
Napping...young llama at the ruins.
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photo by: NazfromOz