If there’s one thing you have to experience in your life, it’s that sharp intake of breath, that beautiful moment of shock and that feeling that you’ve stepped into an imaginary world, a green, magical world high up in a cloud, as you walk up those steps, and finally look down.
One of the most highly anticipaed parts of Charlotte and Chris’ visit, was of course traveling up to Machu Picchu, nestled in the heart of the stunning Sacred Valley of the Incas, near Cusco. Being one of the Wonders and the World, and quite simply the most breathtaking (and I mean that literally) places I’ve ever seen, there was so much anticipation around that part of my friends’ trip. Added to this build-up and anticipation for them, was the fact that my first experience at Machu Picchu 2 and a half years ago was…. cold, windy, and so, so rainy (though my friend Alicja and I look back on that chaotic day with so much joy, now that we’ve warmed up a little and wiped the makeup of our cheeks!), and I remember that on that day, after drying off, and looking at the hilariously awful pictures of me jumping in a bright yellow plastic poncho with hundreds of umbrellas blocking the view of the Inca city behind me, I remember saying “Machu Picchu, you may have frozen me to death today, but I’ll be back. You haven’t defeated me”.
So there was also a liiiiiittle expectation on my part as well… but we got to the top and felt the drizzle, saw the clouds and fog, and I felt the food poisoning turning over my stomach and pulling at every drop of my remaining energy. I had eaten something the night before that had not agreed with me, and oh boy was I feeling it.
All in all, I was convinced that Machu Picchu had truly defeated me, that the Incas had something against little old me.
At that point I was getting strong flashbacks of Machu Picchu 2013, feeling like I was walking through the clouds, and overwhelmed by frustration.
Didn’t feel dizzy at all at that stage…
After a short visit of the main ruins (during which I had trouble standing up) we were meant to climb up Huayna Picchu mountain, the tall, sharp mountain that’s in the background of all the famous pictures of the Inca city. But I was too ill to even consider it. So I waved Charlotte and Chris off, and I knew the most sensible thing to do was make my way over to the infirmary to get checked out so I could actually enjoy myself, even if on strong medication. I so wanted that day to be perfect, I couldn’t let myself be defeated by food poisoning and those pesky clouds.
The walk to the foot of Huayna Picchu, which you can see sticking out above the ruins.
To cut a long story short, (a vaguely gruesome story involving wobbly legs and me holding on to the ruins for dear life, and those meditating German girls getting very mad at me for breaking the relaxing silence with my retching), by the time my two awe-struck friends had climbed back down Huayna Picchu mountain safely and I managed to stand up again, it was time to go, see, take those selfies, and conquer.
And the sun came out… Machu Picchu, TAKE THAT. I GOT YOU.
I had been looking forward to breathing in that magical mystical Inca air for so long. And with my two amazing friends by my side, there was no stopping me.
I didn’t think I had a fear of heights, but I couldn’t even get close to that edge!
Just. Look. At. That.
The thing about those ancient ruins, is that the story behind them just blows your mind. How the Incas built that baffling city stone by stone, taking into account how the water would flow from the top to the bottom, and how the sunlight would enter that perfectly round hole in the Sun Temple at a specific time every day… watching tourists’ faces during a guided tour is a spectacle of awe, incredulity and sometimes sheer confusion as to how it was all possible so many hundreds of years ago.
And… the masterpiece.
I look back on these photos and smile so much, not just because I was in such a magical place with Charlotte, but also because I don’t think you can tell that I was still feeling so sick, and had barely managed to slap on some lipstick to look a little more human! But hey, I was happy with my lovely Charlotte so maybe that showed in my face more than the queasiness.
Obligatory silly photos!
Thank you Chris for putting up with us as we posed for about half an hour, getting ALL the shots in all the different angles. You’re the best, and not just at taking our photo!
Squinting a little but here’s the happy bunch together!
The drizzle had started again at this point, so the rainjackets went back on, but we were still having the time of our lives.
Almost touching…. almost…
My happy Charlotte! I can’t wait for more adventures together, poulette!
Well, Machu Picchu, we came, we saw, we conquered. You are definitely the best at making some unforgettable memories.