Any trip to Peru isn’t complete without seeing Machu Picchu. It attracts archaeologists, photographers and adventurers, as well as travellers who are eager to tick it off their bucket list.
Many will take the challenging Inca Trail to reach this New 7 Wonder of the World, but Lisa Rollinson discovered that even those who take the easier route will still be overwhelmed by this legendary site…
I had dreamed of visiting the ancient ruins since I could remember. I had heard tales, seen pictures and read books, but finally it was my time to visit this man-made wonder.
We arrived in Aguas Calientes by train in the early afternoon. This little town is Machu Picchu’s jumping on or off point, for people who have completed their Inca Trail trek or those who are sightseeing by train. A river runs though the village and there are restaurants and souvenir shops lining the main street. You could immediately sense the excitement amongst people who were returning from the sacred ruins, and I couldn’t wait to enjoy the moment myself!
We joined the queue of locals and visitors who were waiting to board the buses, that 25 minutes later would have us disembarking at one of the most fascinating places on our planet.
The road snaked its way through the mountains and, as the bus rounded a corner, I had my first glimpse of the ancient Inca ruins. I realised I was holding my breath, taken aback by the size of the site.
The most astonishing thing is the mountain-side location of the ruins. The amount of work that must have gone into clearing the land is inspiring, but the gradient they are built on is simply unfathomable.
Our guide explained how the stones used in the construction were both local and brought in from elsewhere. It took around 90 years for the Incas to build the sanctuary and some even say that parts were never finished.
We had plenty of time to wander at our leisure, take it all in and imagine what it must have been like when the Spanish invaded the region. It was during this time that the Incas were thought to have burned Machu Picchu and hidden themselves deeper in the mountains.
Machu Picchu was a small community, a place of refuge, built in the most improbable landscape. 'Incredible' just doesn't describe it. Even when you see it for yourself it’s hard to comprehend the scale of Machu Picchu. It will keep you wondering why the Incas decided to build on a mountainside, in the middle of nowhere. There is simply nothing that compares in our modern world!"