Our lovely Sacred Valley drive ended with Machu Picchu. I was concerned because the weather said that it was going to be chilly, cloudy, and rainy, and it began to drizzle on our bus ride up the mountain. Believe it or not, we stepped off the bus and the clouds parted, providing us with the most beautiful possible day we could have asked for – blue skies, sun shining, 80 degrees – perfect. Walking through the entranceway and having this breathtaking sight in front of us was fascinating because on one hand it’s exactly like the photos, yet on the other hand it’s completely unlike the photos in that it’s obviously so much more impressive and astonishing in person. For years we’ve seen these pictures – we’ve thought about it and heard about it – but we never really believe that we will go to such a remote place.
To be there, to look at the logistics of the Incan Empire, is just crazy. Machu Picchu is located between two valleys surrounding the beautiful Andes; the Incans believed that the mountains were deities, bringing them closer to their Gods. The immensity of this whole concept was difficult to grasp – it’s located so high up, and was built long before cars, so it wasn’t possible for the Incans to drive down and resupply themselves in five minutes: everything that they built and constructed had to be done by hand and foot. It is incredible to think that the Incans did all of this without technology, especially when we were all exhausted just walking up and down the stone steps of the complex, and knowing that we are all in pretty decent shape. As you get farther away from Machu Picchu, it blends in beautifully with the surroundings, so it was well camouflaged from Spanish attacks. With it’s height, location, and lookout posts, the Incans were able to protect themselves from enemies by first recognizing the enemy, and then lifting the bridges; perhaps this is why the Spanish never found and destroyed the city.