South American getaway
My first trip to South America was with my dear college friend, Jordan. We had three weeks, so that meant we had to narrow our itinerary so that we could make the most of our experience,
First up was the incomparable, Machu Picchu (I have returned twice. Once alone, and once with my husband) Machu Picchu, for those history buffs out there was discovered by Hiram Bingham, among other things, was a US Senator, graduate of Yale, the University of California-Berkeley and Harvard University. He publicized the existence of Machu Picchu in 1911 with the assistance of indigenous famers. Surprisingly, Bingham had no specific training in archaeology; however, he was a professor of South America at Yale when he discovered this amazing site.
At the time of our trip, there was a small hotel which accommodated about 25 people. We had failed to make reservations; however, we met a group of like-minded individuals and gathered together in one room. The importance of being on the premises of this amazing place is that we were able to see Machu Picchu at sunrise and sunset. Today, there is still only one hotel on the premises. It's a first class hotel, called the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge. It's pricey, but well worth it, in my humble opinion. (My husband and I stayed there in August.)
Jordan and I started out journey to Machu Picchu in Cusco, Peru, a bastion of world-wide hippies. It's a fascinating city and is a must see if you're planning a trip to Peru. We then took the train to Machu Picchu...for the adventurous traveler, you could start in Cusco, and the following day, take the Inca Trail trek. NOTE: These days are long gone for various reasons. The Peruvian government limits access to 500 people a day, including porters (sherpas) For the summer months, permits sell out months in advance.
It's hard to wrap your brain around the majesty of Machu Picchu; One thing that stands out above all else is how the Incas were able to keep their city intact. It's the only Inca City in Peru that was never discovered by the Spaniards. Francisco Pizarro was the Spanish Conquistador led the expedition to conquer the Incas.