Designated as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is believed to have been a royal estate or sacred religious site for the Inca people (whose civilization was wiped out by Spanish invaders in the 16th century). The good news is that the Spanish never knew about the existence of the site. So, they never had the opportunity to destroy it. One of the saddest things about this trip is that it’s hard to understand a lot about the Incas because most of their records were destroyed by the Spaniards.
The literal translation of Machu Picchu is ‘old peak.’ Historians believe the site was abandoned about 100 years after it was built and the only people who knew about the site were peasants living in the region. It was only “discovered” internationally a little over 100 years ago by American archaeologist Hiram Bingham.
There is much more to learn about Machu Picchu but it truly requires a first-hand experience. And the full spectrum of its beauty simply cannot be captured in pictures!
But this suggestion comes with an advisory: while the experience is breathtaking, one must be very careful while visiting. The steps in some areas are very jagged and steep. So, as careful as I was trying to be, I still managed to take a step down and twist my ankle literally 15-20 minutes into our tour!
We had to stay in the same spot for a little bit while I got my mind right! The tour guide continued to share the history of the place as we sat. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go on. But honestly, I didn’t have a choice because there is only one way in and one way out! So, I hobbled my way through the rest of the mountain.
It wasn’t until we got back to the bottom, on the bus, and I hopped to the restaurant that my foot pain went from an 8 to 8000!!!! My foot swelled up to where I thought I would burst out of my shoe. Thank goodness one of our groupmate is a nurse!!!! She went and got supplies at the nearest pharmacy and wrapped my foot. It was going to be a mission to head back to the train station as you have to walk everywhere. So I did my best!
To make an already long story short, I came back home after a total of about 10 flying hours, landed and went straight to Urgent Care. They did an x-ray and next thing you know… they come in the room with crutches!!! I need to have a T-shirt made that says “I went to Machu Picchu and all I got was a broken ankle!” But I must be honest, I would do it again in a heartbeat! It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to.
And to think…My biggest fears about this trip were altitude sickness and bad water!
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