Sunday, July 13, 2014

Machu Picchu

Today was a trip I have waited for over 10 years to take. Ever since learning of the mysterious and legendary place, I have only dreamed of visiting Machu Picchu. Today, my dream became a reality.

We began our trek with departing from our hotel at 5:15 in the morning. Santos, our bus driver, drove us through the countryside of Cusco. While many members of the group were tired, I was too excited to sleep and was amazed by the majestic scenery of the mountains. After the bus ride, we arrived in a small village called Ollantaytambo.  From there was boarded the Inca Rail, a 90 minute train ride. Upon arrival, just when everyone thought we would finally arrive at our destination, we then again took one more bus ride for 20 minutes. We finally arrived at Machu Picchu at approximately 8:45 in the morning. We were greeted by our tour guide, Alex, whose ancestors were once the Incan people lived in the villages surrounding Machu Picchu and constructed Machu Picchu. As we walked up the pebble stone pathway and lush blanket of vegetation along the pathway,  my excitement grew as I realized we were moments away from seeing one of the 7 New Wonders of the World.  And there it was, Machu Picchu laid before my eyes. Words cannot explain the immense beauty of the landscape.  I was absolutely speechless as water filled my eyes and little tears ran down my cheeks. All I could say was “QuĂ© lindo!” (“How beautiful!”).  Alex shared with us his vast knowledge of the ancient civilization that allowed us to better understand the purpose every structure. After we took a break for lunch,  Sarah, Carla, Ashley, Dr. Aliaga, and myself decided to continue the journey and hike further up to see the best view of Machu Picchu. The pictures do not give it justice. The sight of the breathtaking scene are 1,000 times more gorgeous in person.

My trip was more than I could have possible dreamed of. I was blessed to have my dream turn into reality. As much as I didn’t want to leave, I am excited to continue our journey throughout Peru.

        --Meredith Henson

Machu Picchu.
Llamas in Machu Picchu. A beautiful day for our visit.

Dr. Jean-Marie in Machu Picchu.

The U of Louisville group at the start of our tour of Machu Picchu.

Another perspective of the sanctuary.

Traditional musicians and dancer in Aguas Calientes, a small town where the trains arrive from Cusco, and where the buses are boarded to the actual ruins.

The U of L group listening to Alex, our tour guide, while looking at the sanctuary.

Cardy made it to Machu Picchu! With LaRhondolyn and Ashley.

Posing in Machu Picchu, with the Huayna Picchu mountain in the background.
Carla, Ashley, Meredith, and Sarah at the most famous gate in Machu Picchu.

Sarah and Meredith in Machu Picchu.

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