I Found “Zen” At Machu Picchu

Incas  were the empire that ruled most of Peru, parts of Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Ecuador. It was an extensive empire that ruled these regions for more than 100 years. The Incas are responsible for the many archeological sites scattered around Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.

One of the most recognizable sites and recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders by the New 7 Wonders Foundation is Machu Picchu. Why would Machu Picchu be a site that would instigate a feeling of inspiration?

Looking out at City of Machu Picchu

In the movie, The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), we see how the young Che Guevara makes a stop at Machu Picchu and it is there he has a very clear realization. Part of  the plot of the movie reads:

At Machu Picchu, Che is inspired to start a revolution to give rights back to the common worker and close the gap between the rich and the poor, proving once again that you have to see the world before you can change it.

Here begins my journey

After a pleasurable 2 hour glass-topped train ride to Aguas Calientes (From Cusco by hired private car to Ollantaytambo then catch train to Aguas Calientes) meandering uphill and down through canyons, along strong current rivers gushing over volcanic rocks, we reached the line for the bus which would take us uphill to the Machu Picchu Citadel.  I prefer not to call it ruins.

Train to Aguas Calientes

The real journey began after the train ride.

Inti Punku

Totally naive and ill-prepared, wearing sneakers instead of hiking boots, hanging on to branches and twigs with well manicured nails instead of using walking sticks, not having taken altitude tablets, but having drunk lots of coca leaf tea (native drink this for altitude sickness), some nose bleed, panting and puffing with each step whilst our guide, Manuel, causally climbed as if he was taking a Sunday afternoon stroll, we hiked.     Manuel was instructed to guard my iPad with his life.

Start of the hike

At one point at the steepest part of the climb I told my fellow pilgrims, Anne Marie and Esperanza,  I would stop I couldn’t go farther,  but Manuel said “diez minutos mas solamente”, so I told myself I could do anything for diez minutos, even if I have to crawl on all fours, and not look at the sheer drop on the side, the steep mountain face above, and the cavernous drop below.

Diez minutos turned out to be cuarenta minutos.

Manuel our tour guide

It was cuarentos minutos before we touched heaven, stood upright and felt as if a slight earthquake was happening.  Yay! I came I saw I conquered

Anne-Marie, Esperanza and Glenda at the summit.

After the descent of the Machu Picchu mountain we sat under a shady tree on a mound and looked down at the city of MP.

I contemplated how was it possible for a people to construct without mortar, a perfect maze of an imperial city in the 13th century, without “artificial” energy just the energy of the sun, which consisted of armories, forts, citadels, temples, irrigation and food storage systems and yet still almost made themselves extinct on account of an invasion of another race of people.

Despite the number of tourists around, taking selfies and other photos, filming, being “educated” by their tour guides, I still found a certain serenity in the space, not to mention the absolute beauty, it was surreal – I found some Zen

The writer visited Machu Picchu with her two friends Anne-Marie and Esperanza in July of 2015.    They were in Peru 🇵🇪 to participate in fencing tournament in the veteran category.   They fence for the US.   

4 Replies to “I Found “Zen” At Machu Picchu”

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