Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Salkantay trekking, Machu Picchu! (Day 5!)

This was the day it was all about, the end, but somehow it felt like it was just a part of the journey! Sleepily we got out of bed, and off to the lobby of the hotel. It was not even five o`clock yet! Maybe we could get a quick cup of coffee? And we did, and a piece of bread with butter and jam, and we were ready for this day!

Sarah was excited! And maybe a little bit more rested than the rest of us, and she had an incredible pace! Only Marco and Gordon could keep up with her. Johan and I took it slightly slower. As we were walking, the buses loaded with tourists were rushing passed us! But we were still walking, not cheating and sitting on the bus for 9US$ per person one way!

My legs couldn't`t believe the shock, when I pushed them to start climbing the too long and too high steps up the hill! I didn`t expect this. It was not so hot, but it was humid and we were sweating, but eventually we reached the top. The tourists from all the buses were queuing, and we fell into the long line!

We were here! We scrambled among the bodies of people to get to a spot, to take a photo, to see a little bit more! Nowadays there are a limit on all the people visiting Machu Picchu a day, only 2500 people are allowed.

We met our guide for a tour around, and were told a lot of things about these rocks, and the Incas. When I stood closer to some other groups of tourists, with their guides, I soon realised that there were as many stories and answers, and still no truth, as there are stones on Machu Picchu!

It was not long before we were on our own, and that was what I`ve waited for. Machu Picchu and only me and Johan and Marco! We walked around, touching the stones precisely laid on top of each other.

We saw the curve of the walls, allowing for seismic activity. We saw the fountains and the gutters carved out of the stone, bringing fresh water to the whole city.

 Marco sat on the steps moulded to perfection.

The "boys" pretended to be guards at the gate, watching over the King!

I touched a stone, looking like the Southern Cross, showing exact South! We walked over to the place where sacrifices were made. Was it a sacrifice of a llama, or was it a human sacrifice?

There was still archaeologists busy on certain spots, brushing and searching for answers.

About thirty percent of these ruins are already renovated. I looked around, and with utter shock saw something that would upset the Incas whoever built this majestic ruins. With all our resources, all our technology we are not able to restore these walls with the same precision, the same finesse! Instead of the huge lintels, carved and lifted above the entrances, three wooden logs are now placed above the entrances! Instead of carving and shaping or slicing the rocks with a laser beam to fit snugly together, mud are stuck into the empty spaces! Who is in charge of the quality of the restoration of Machu Picchu, I humbly ask?

Logs instead of the stone lintels, and unorganised stone work in mud!

The real stone lintels, just not on top anymore.

Mud filled walls, and loose stones stuffed into openings.

The three of us found a spot, far removed from people! We spend our time, drinking in the energy of this place with all its hidden secrets. It felt as if you knew, being over here, that you are a part of the hidden secrets. If you touch the walls of stone, you know you share in something more than what is known! We were enveloped by the pure magical energy of Machu Picchu!

There are so many theories, and still so many discoveries on what really happened in the saddle between these two mountains. What is very clear to us, while sitting among these stones, was that the Incas couldn`t be responsible for al of this! If I looked around the whole of Peru, nowhere could I find a trace of this pride, this precision, this perfection,  none of this exist in the mud houses of the world around me!

After resting for a while Johan and I left Marco somewhere, and we walked a part of the original Inca Trail, on its way to the Inca Bridge. This bridge was built to connect the two mountains, and also to control who crossed the bridge! It was amazingly built, all around the mountain, making sure not to disturb the Mountain God. We followed the path, and Johan waited for me, while I walked down all the way, standing in front of the bridge. I wondered who were watching this bridge, who were calling when they saw strangers coming around the mountain?  Who was walking over this bridge, where my feet were standing right now?

Reluctantly we walked back, and we found Marco sitting on the patch of  grass talking to The Women!

At last we met! She caught my eye, riding on her horse up the Salkantay Trek, ( three days ago) and she left me with a smile. The night in the hotel, I saw her at the desk, but she walked away. This morning before five, she rushed into the lobby, and I found her name! Jocelyn! Is what she said, and when I asked her about the white of her hair and the sun in her eyes, she smiled and said! They say I was born in 1939, you do the Math! 

And here she was sitting on the green of the grass with Marco! We hugged and shared our stories very quickly, knowing that we will meet again! Joss, is the Traveling Pilgrim and she is guided and accompanied by her spiritual Aboriginal guide, and we invited her to come and be with us in our country soon! She hugged us, she hugged Marco, leaving him with her greeting. "It was so lovely to meet you again, young man. We knew each other long before...."  And Marco went over to her tiny figure, and he hugged her close...

Was this why Machu Picchu was there? For loving and hugging and sharing, and maybe remembering?

We slowly walked down the steps of Machu Picchu, knowing that we will never be here again in our life time. We kept the three stones we picked up from the ground, and I will save it for Marco to return our stones one day!

 Ps. I have to officially state, that I walked the Salkantay Trek, for three and a half days with these two fashionable baby blue babies! Too often I smiled when people around me, geared to the teeth, in their "Due South" and "North Face" or  well known brands, couldn`t help but let their eyes drop right down to my feet! Never did anyone ask me about my hiking boots!


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