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Discovering ancient wonders and mysteries in Peru is a never ending story. The country is full of hidden treasures. Anyway the biggest experience you can get in Peru is meeting the friendly and hospitable inhabitants.

An adventurous trip to Peru, an enigmatic country thriving with culture, nature and history - Part 3 of 4!

Machu Picchu at last - Our time spent in Lima was brief but intense…The gem of our trip…the cherry on the sundae, if you will…lay in waiting. Today was the day of our archaeological pilgrimage to Machu Picchu.
Photo. The happy glowing couple, Josh and Marna, on historical ground. © Josh Cutler.

Nestled two miles up in the mountains, at a painful elevation, sits South America's premiere ruin site.  Revealing itself amongst the clouds and jagged mountains survives the Incan Empire's greatest achievement. The splendour of Machu Picchu grazes the top of my personal list of "The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World." 

The famous image of the rocky ruins with immense green cloudy mountains behind them was burned in my brain…now was our chance to walk through a world of my imagination.  We scaled its ancient walls and found some of its secret hidden corners. It was surreal to be in a place that looks like it could only exist in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

It is truly difficult to describe the crisp blinding colours of green foliage and grey stone mingling through a fluffy cloud. Walking around Machu Picchu is reminiscent of walking through a dream with your eyes wide open.

Photo. Machu Picchu...Inca land of mystery. © Josh Cutler.

Beyond the ruins in the distance rests the quiet Huayna Picchu, a neighbouring mountain and backdrop of the Incan city. Shrouded in fog and reaching for the sky, its towering cap rests in the heavens. Tomorrow, we planned to climb that massive monolith! The task seemed unrealistic…but it could be done… and for that reason alone…we had have a try at it.

Marna and I retired early to get a good night sleep…the best time to climb was first thing in the morning as sun rises over the spiked Andean cliffs. We dropped our packs off at our hostel and decided to have a soak in the hot springs…hence the name of the town we were staying in "Aguas Calientes". 

We awoke the next morning with the roosters…woofed down some fresh fruit and yummy coca tea, a local concoction. The quest at hand was going to require all the strength we possessed.  We caught a morning bus to the ruin site and trekked to where the mountain path began. At this hour we had the place all to ourselves.  It was romantically beautiful in an Indiana Jones kind of way. 

Photo. Llamas grazing at the site - Machu Picchu. © Josh Cutler.

The two of us had to "sign in" for the hike at the trailhead…in case we didn't return, they'd come looking for us… Very reassuring…  

The trail was rough, but well marked…It climbed a spiral staircase around the steep cliffs. We trudged through some fantastic cloud forest, spotting hummingbirds grazing on bright jungle flowers!  The passing foliage was impressively wild considering how cold the temperature dropped in the mountains.

After forty five minutes, the altitude and climb wore on us both…it was tough to communicate between wheezing for oxygen and gripping ropes for support. After an hour we were so high up above sea level that Marna's nose began to bleed! This was a serious climb! Now we know what they mean my nosebleed seats…we were in them! Chewing on a coca leaf seems to cure everything in Peru…so we gave it a try. 

Photo. Finally at Machu Picchu.
© Josh Cutler.

After the pit stop we felt recharged and climbed the remaining hour up the side of the mountain.

With nostrils stuffed with tissue paper, muddy clothes and achy muscles, this was one brutal hike! The view from the top was well worth it.

Misty mountains of green stretched in every direction. The vast ruins of Machu Picchu below us appeared miniscule from our elevated height. We stayed at the apex of that mammoth mountain for an hour, resting and regrouping our battered bodies and lungs. 

Photo. What a great window view at old Inca site, Machu Picchu. © Josh Cutler.

A sense of accomplishment overwhelmed the both of us…That climb was a major uphill battle against the all the elements. We would undoubtedly be celebrating tonight with some Cuzqueña cervezas…

This article continues in part 4. Read about great experience and watch unique photos:
Read more on part 4 .

Josh Cutler, 8 November 2004

Additional information

Presentation of the author:

Photo of Josh Cutler, a great adventure traveller from the USA.

© Photo Copyright for all photos in this article: Josh Cutler.

E-mail address: NYCutler@aol.com

Where can travellers book their tours for travelling in Peru?
Any tour operator organising tours to Machu Picchu, Amazon or to other places in Peru, which want to promote their tour offers on our website, contact us for targeting advertising and campaigns. 

Travel Explorations
E-mail: stein@travelexplorations.com.

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Meeting the Mudmen
in Papua New Guinea

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