On tour in Peru – Cusco and Machu Picchu

A 3am start the day after our return from English camp was met with much excitement (and the odd bit of morning grumpiness) as we flew off for our team holiday – 3 days in Cusco including one at one of the newly voted 7 wonders of the world – Macchu Picchu. We could feel our chests tight with the altitude which was cancelled out by the wonderfully clean mountain air. None of the the black snot that signalled the pollution of Lima! We had a whistlestop city tour of some of the main sights in and around Cusco – a combination of Inca ruins and Spanish architecture.

It was fascinating to see a Dominican church built on the ruins of an Inca temple. The Inca stonework was incredible – no cement or mortar used the stones were precision cut to fit and lock together. We detected some of the animosity from the guide that can only come from a people subjugated in the violent way they were by the Spanish. On a ‘mission trip’ it was interesting to observe the effects that forcing Catholicism had on the locals. We also visited Saksaq Waman– not sexy woman but more Inca ruins which from the air form the shape of a Puma’s head, with the town of Cusco forming the body. The Incas really were pretty amazing people. The best was saved for another 3am start – a one and a half hour minibus ride followed by 2hrs in a baltic train to Aquas Calientes – the town beside Machu Pichhu.

Machu Pichhu is an Inca settlement at the top of a mountain. The scenery alone is breathtaking as jungle covered mountains appear from the morning mist with the coming up of the sun. That this sanctuary or city could be built in such a place without modern technology is stunning. The Spanish didn’t discover it and it was only found in the early 1900’s covered in jungle. Its incredibly beautiful and peaceful, slightly disturbing on learning some of the stories of sacrifice, and still mystical – people are still unsure as to its exact purpose. A hike up the Inca trail – in the burning sun gave still more magnificent views down onto the ruins I’m more used to seeing on my coffee packets. We had all sorts of fascinating discussions about the Inca’s beliefs and how God would view those in the silence looking down at the city as most of the tourists left. It may just be ruins on top of a mountain but it one of those place you have to see for yourself to appreciate it, the skill of the Incas, and the God who gave them the skills to build it.

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