Saturday, May 18, 2013

Peru, Part 2- Cusco

Cusco, the historical capital of the Inca Empire, is one of the most visited cities in Peru and the gateway to Machu Picchu. The city is maze of winding cobblestone streets and ancient rock walls, pieced perfectly together without the use of mortar—strong enough to withstand more than 500 years of history.

Cusco is known as the bellybutton of the universe by the native Quechua . It was once the center of the Inca Empire and considered the connection to the womb of the Pachamama—the mother earth.

A three hour train ride from Cusco brings you to the lost city of Machu Picchu.
Standing almost 8,000 ft above sea level, surrounded by lush mountain forest, Machu Picchu appears like a scene from a dream. Clouds settle on the surrounding peaks, light streams through windows in majestic rock walls, and llamas graze on vibrant green grass. Once a bustling civilization, Machu Picchu now lays in rest, guarding secrets from ancient times.

Here, one feels a connection to the natural forces of the universe. Each wall and building of Machu Picchu was carefully constructed in relation to the cycles of the sun, moon, and stars. Rocks were painstakingly cut to fit tightly together—some so perfectly that it’s impossible to slip even a blade of grass between the two stones. There is magic and mystery in this space and it pulls you in with impressive force.

A trip to Peru is a journey into ancient worlds, lost civilizations, and vibrant culture. Thank you for coming on this journey with me…I hope that one day each of you will meet this country with your own eyes. 

(And a big thank you to Lisa Landolino, for many of these pictures.)

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