As a professional gypsy, I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to some of the most amazing places on earth. I have been affected by all of the places that I’ve visited but am very aware that not all destinations are created equal and everyone’s personal experiences in those places are different. For me, there are those places on this planet that cause my heart to flutter and face to beam every time their names are mentioned. I light up when someone asks me about them and a sense of euphoria overwhelms me when I begin to talk about them. Rapa Nui, Iguazu Falls, Torres del Paine, El Camino de Santiago, Ngorongoro Crater, and the Salar de Uyuni are a few of those places that make my heart skip a beat. The one place above all that has this euphoric effect on me is Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is one of the most mind-blowingly beautiful places that I have ever seen. Of course there are older and more important archaeological sites in the world, but few of them have a location as stunning as Machu Picchu. The Inca were not only ingenious architects but they knew it was all about location, location, location. They could appreciate a room with a view in the 14th century. Located high above the lush Urubamba Valley, the stone buildings hug the mountain and the terraces cascade down the steep-sided slopes into the dense vegetation. There is no question that this is one of the most beautiful sites on earth.
Now, I have had the good fortune of visiting Machu Picchu over a dozen times, but nothing was like the first time. My first encounter with Machu Picchu was after a gruelling 4 day hike along the mighty Inca Trail enduring torrential rains, aching bones and altitude sickness. At dawn, on the last day of the hike, I first cast my gaze upon the site and immediately burst into tears. The crying could have been from exhaustion, but I believe it was my gut reaction to the sheer beauty of the place. I was completely awe-struck by Machu Picchu. I had read all about it, studied it in my anthropology class, seen many photos, and nothing prepared me for how I would feel there.
The first time I plunked myself down on a ledge near the Watchman’s Hut to soak in the site, I felt a sense of euphoria that I hadn’t felt before. I beamed ear to ear as I sat there listening to Moby on my Discman (yes, a Discman). After the dozen or so visits I’ve made to the same ledge by the Watchman’s Hut, I can whole-heartedly say that there is something very special about Machu Picchu and its energy. I feel that sense of euphoria every time I visit the site, even if I now listen to Moby on my iPhone. Describing Machu Picchu here on this blog could never do it justice. Machu Picchu is something that you must experience for yourself.
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