Our time in Peru is going to end shortly, and as most of you probably know, one of our final things we did here was visit Machu Picchu. We started the day with a 3:45 wake up call and then a dark walk to our train that departed at 5 am. We arrived to the little town right outside Machu Picchu right after sunrise and started an incredible hike up the mountain. The trail we were taking was first made by the Inkas so that they could get supplies and water from the river to the top of the mountain. It was close to an hour up stone stairs, and let’s just say I think we all might be a little sore today.
Upon arriving at the gates of Machu Picchu, we were surrounded by excited tourists from all over the world. My initial reaction when I saw the view of the city was pure excitement. The first glimpse you get is a view from above that allows you to see the surrounding mountains and all of the ruins. It is really hard to describe how amazing and beautiful it is.
In the beginning of our time there, I did what everyone has to do at Machu Picchu, I took a few photos. After that, I found a rock with a really beautiful view and decided that it was time to bust out the oreos and take in my surroundings. As I was sitting there enjoying my cookies I started paying more attention to the people around me. Everyone was on their phones, taking pictures or worrying about if they looked good in the pictures they had just taken. I watched people make crazy poses, and be really disrespectful towards the sacred place that they were in. People were taking sometimes upwards of 45 minutes just standing in the same spot, taking pictures.
I sat on the same rock for a little over an hour, thinking about what I was watching. Some people spend thousands and thousands of dollars to come to this place, just to take pictures so that they can go home and show their friends that they had the ability to go to Machu Picchu. Many people don’t realize that it is a place of worship, that it is an incredibly sacred place to the people of Inka descent. And many don’t take the time to learn and appreciate the incredible history of Machu Picchu. This realization made me very sad and angry, but I am very glad it happened. I think it is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and I hope that everyone else in the group will too.
See y’all soon!