vendredi 23 mai 2014

20th of may 2014

Sun rise of a most incredible day!

Yeah so. Machu Picchu.

            Machu Picchu means “it is all here” in quechua other interpretations go along the way of “all that is needed”.
            It is a beautifull place, of course, but it is so much more, the energy there is incredible! I remain a youth and yet I am blessed to have seen A LOT of beauty yet in my life, I can assure you This sanctuary is much much more than a beautiful place.

Me in the path to the Machu Picchu mountain. Behind me, mythical Machu Picchu Sanctuary!
            This day, tuesday, was a sort of peak of this journey, it consolidated the ever numerous amazing experiences and moments I have had the luck and honor of going through. Cusco February, march, april and may (until now) 2014 have been powerfully generous. This journey has been incredibly rich and I feel as if I was given everything needed. This can be a bit overwhelming at time. I honestly have had a hard time realizing everything that I have come to experience. I am truly grateful.

Perfect dawn weather. strong impressions
            One aspect of this journey is “first times”. As you may have read in the trek post, I had “never” been outside of western civilization, “never” been south of the equator, never been in South America etc. This was the first time I have lived at high altitude, learned Spanish, first time I have been so high 4600m first time I have been in the jungle.

There is a mark in the ground, that's where the king of spain destroyed a ceremonial sculpture
 in a manner to land in helicopter. Lazy bum. fog drifting by.
            And yet I have a hard time explaining but does not really feel like a “First time” or a discovery, everything felt perfectly casual. Simply, it was like that at the moment. But it puzzled me, how come there is no surprise? Why does this feel so normal? I have a few answers of course, I’ll be happy to share them orally (as for some experiences, it has been made clear I should share them in spoken fashion only).

Bus road, the foot path cuts through in a more "vertical" fashion

            But Machu Picchu of all places, felt more like meeting a long since seen lover than discovering a new place. I felt I had spent years, lifetimes there and this was simply another day there. In another way it felt like I was only saying hello in this life and That I would see it again. All the troubles and doubt about “returning” to Switzerland and how life might be different were levied. I felt that something enormous had blanketed my unconscious part and was softly balancing it. Leaving Cusco will be easy in a certain fashion, for I feel I could easily return for a while. I am going to go to south America again and if I do I will pass by Perù, if I do pass through perù I will go to Cusco and if I do I will go by Machu Picchu again. So there is quite a chance that I will return. Here’s how the day went.

First checkpoint. 5 am
            Wake up at 3:45.  Sandwich making, finish consolidating stuff. Meet at main place 4:30 and then we left in the night for the Machu! We soon met other groups and in the time we came to the bridge I believe we were around 200 people (around 8% of the total amount of persons allowed through the gates of the sanctuary. each day 2500).
Passed the first check point before the bridge.  And we started climbing millennial steps in the jungle. It was beautiful and amazing. I found myself extracted from allocated trek group so put on music. Kind of had a retrospective résumé moment listening to the entirety of my Cusquenian compositions climbing up to one of the “new” seven marvels of the world. Headlights dancing at the rhythm of sacred steps. cried of exaltation.

Dancing flashlights up to the sanctuary

            Arrived around 5:50. Doors opened precisely at 6am (most precise moment time wise in all of my Peruvian experience!)
Entered and was put with an English speaking guide (not my trek guide) but felt tense and prisoner as the strength of the place was becoming me. Returned to Juan, which was giving a tour in Spanish, felt much better and was able to stay in place. After a while I realized it was Spanish and not English, a small celebration in my cabeza!. He left us around 8 am, felt like 3pm after exchanging virtual contact info parted in different groups according to accessibility of sites; a necessity to book tickets in advance for Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. I found myself with a double couple of French folk, which honestly were fun and enjoyable to hang out with. We headed to the Machu Picchu Mountain entrance after going out of the site for a break.

First hours of day light.
            We were told an hour and a half to access the top; it was clear none of us decided to believe that before passing the checkpoint. After a grueling 45 minutes of the strongest incline we had climbed so far, I had the stupid idea to ask a random woman (we took pictures of her with her ipad) how long left? When I saw her lone index be her answer, my brain skipped for a second and believed it was only a minute left.

Mystical moments
Stairway in the sky

Of course it was an hour. That was the hardest moment of the trek yet. At that moment we all had blisters and assorted cramps, numbness, rashes, bites and a lot of fatigue. We went on and the steepness did too. Harder and harder. Up in the clouds. At one point I was blessed to feel that I was on stairs in the sky! It was beautiful. And 600 m higher than the sanctuary we finally arrived atop. A moment I will see during my passing certainly. Of course with lady luck granting me her favors the view of the site cleared after 15 minutes and lasted until the remaining of the day! Beautiful! Marvelous! A gift truly!  Had pic nic (Food is not allowed but thankfully the guard only cared about our safety. I did spend the day with my jacket in one hand hiding my plastic bag of food).
And started back after an hour. I then learned that one of the group has vertigo (fear of heights) and felt a great deal of respect and awe for his accomplishment! We passed the checkpoint 3 hours and a half after we entered.

Wayna Picchu
The day was perfect! The night walk was not too cold yet the temperatures would cool us off a bit during the hike. When entering the site there were wisps and tufts of clouds and fog surrounding the site making it very unreal, eerie and mystical. I really had the lost mystical city of the Inca feeling. As the day went on and as we made for the top of the mountain the clouds parted to end in a warm leisurely sunny afternoon meditation  to top everything off!

See the building? started the day there, walked all the way here (and back)
Machu Picchu Mountain as seen from the sanctuary.

After returning from Machu Picchu Mountain we wandered about and took pictures then we parted and I went to enjoy my last hour with an old friend alone. Wrote, meditated, had reflexions on my life and listened to music. The site closes at 4pm and we had a meeting in the center of town at 530pm. What was not my surprise when modifying the volume my sound device informed me it was 420pm already. Had to say goodbye to the sanctuary in a rush, thanked it as if I was a Japanese man that had just had his life saved and ran down hill to reach 400 meters lower in 30 minutes. Went to the agency owned restaurant to retrieve my train tickets (for the 6:30 train, I had yet to meet another chap from the group and retrieve my pack!!!) but discovered my train would leave at 9pm! Went to the rendez vous point but only four of the original ten produced at the meeting. But there were the two Irishmen with me so we had a fun time nonetheless! I will mention the chap from Québec which was my tent and roommate for the duration of the trek. A nice lad, generous and taught me a few very enjoyable tricks to make a better experience of my journey. The 11 of us all laughed a lot during the whole five days!

As I had nonchalantly wished for a flute solo earlier in the day, for it would perfect the experience. Life manifested my wish! pretty amazing moment!
            Went back to the hostel and I wrote and watched crazy weird Peruvian TV whilst Mike and Pat went for pizza ( I had prepared a picnic, plus had been bled dry of my money during the trek). I finished rereading for the billionth time the volume 2 of “conversations with god”. We went to the station and I caught up with a few of the people from other groups I had connected with during the five days.

Valley of Machu Picchu Pueblo at sundown
            In the train had the (P)leisure of listening to music whilst seeking in the night. Mostly being thankful and happy about other humans!
The change at the station was extremely speedy. I was called scoo schmitzleuss and boarded a minivan with the delicate luck of being last, hence in the front seat. Off loaded 2 streets from my domicile and really felt my feet and legs pain for the very last moments of 15kilo hiking shoes pleasure. I think I did the whole hike without interior soles. Tsst tstt. You know me! Went to bed and… woke up 5 hours later! Whaaaatt?

Of course the skies had to offer such a sight for my eyes to witness it's power.

I am surprised of the happiness of my feet and legs, they recuperated astonishingly fast! Thank you thank you thank you!

Much love!


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