Swirling veils of mysterious mist. Majestic, domineering heights. Violent, winding rivers. And above all, the promise of an unforgettable moment. I will never forget the journey from Cusco to the timeless jewel of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu. Upon leaving the city, you notice at once, traces of a once glorious past, of a lost kingdom. Through exotic flora you catch a glimpse of broken ruins that whisper of times of opulence.
As you climb higher and still higher again, it feels as though you are about to reach the summit of the world, and the distance between earth and the vast grey-blue canvas above seems increasingly shorter. Low, moody clouds enchant us visitors and the dramatic shadows of dawn compete for our attention. They tell us that we have nearly arrived. That soon we will lay our eyes upon it. That just a little further on, a giant awaits.
And all of a sudden she appears, her majesty, Huayna Picchu. She guards her city with her head held high and congratulates the humble traveller. Like a well loved sovereign she poses for the cameras of her loyal subjects and greets them with grace. ‘Welcome to my kingdom’, she announces, ‘my beloved Macchu Picchu, my Inca footprint’.
And there, us visitors spend the day amongst echoes of an empire, where mysterious and wonderful pieces of the past paint a picture of the splendour that once was. Vast boulders suggest a mighty fortress and empty houses a vibrant population. Sun dials and strange shapes delineate a powerful, mysterious and unfamiliar culture.
Here and there wander a lama or two, who today are well accustomed to their daily audience. Their bored expressions have a pompous air about them and their posture demonstrates proudness in knowing that it is now they who govern this ancient imperial throne.
Visitors have the option of climbing to the highest point of the landmark, the peak of Huayna Picchu. From there, you have what seems like an infinite view of the world. You feel as though you are sitting at God’s side with the sky at your fingertips, gazing at the world below. You can see for miles and miles, and in a sense you can see for centuries as you contemplate how the history of the area has unfolded. And as you sit at the summit the dream of you and many more adventurers comes true, as you look out and in awe, and feel that you too have now experienced a part of the great Inca footprint.