For Paula’s Thursday’s Special, ‘Traces Of The Past’, I’ve chosen this photo of one of the most important places on my Bucket List. The ancient city of Machu Picchu in Peru, is believed by most archaeologists to have been built as an estate for the Inca emperor, Pachacuti (1438-72). It had lain hidden amidst dense jungle-covered mountains until 1911, when American historian, Hiram Bingham, announced his discovery of it. Can you just imagine the excitement he must have felt on suddenly discovering this magical silent landscape for the first time?
The well-preserved ruins overlooking the Vilcanata river valley, and surrounded by colossal green mountains, seem to almost cling to the steep hillside. Even if you’ve seen photos of this wondrous structure, it doesn’t in the slightest prepare you for seeing the breath-taking and awe-inspiring sight, firsthand.
You realise when you get there, that you don’t just ‘visit’ Machu Picchu, you feel as though you are making a pilgrimage there. The Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda wrote, “Machu Picchu is a trip to the serenity of the soul, to the eternal fusion with the cosmos; where we feel our fragility. It is one of the greatest marvels of South America. A resting place of butterflies in the epicentre of the great circle of life. One more miracle.”