How stunning is that? Trust me, it looks even better when you see it with your own eyes. This, my friends, is Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. It is the most famous archaeological site in South America. I´m not really an archaeologically-inclined guy, but this place is so beautiful. I was blown away and took a billion pictures (my poor camera). Machu Picchu is probably one of the most touristed places on the planet, but, as I have mentioned before, I believe some of these places are heavily touristed for good reason. Machu Picchu is a good example.
Adding to its greatness, Machu Picchu was built in a most ridiculous location: on the side of a mountain, deep in the Andes, where the mountain sides are shear and plummet into valley rivers. Mother Nature had something to prove the day she built this terrain.
You might be wondering if I traveled to Machu Picchu via the famous Inca Trail. Unfortunately, no. When I got to Cuzco, the trek was totally booked for the next month (you often have to booked months in advance for this trek, as the government limits the number of trekkers… planning ahead is not one of my strengths, usually). So I took the train :)
In other news, a good buddy of mine, Adrian (Ireland), that I met in New Zealand a few months ago, is in Cuzco right now. It has been great to drink beer and reminisce with him. This is one of my favourite things about travel: familiar faces in foreign places. The other day we were drinking beer in an Irish pub in Cuzco, which, at an altitude of 3,300m (11,000 ft), claims to be the highest Irish-owned pub in the world. Chalk up another “world´s -est” for yours truly. I will leave none undiscovered.
On this note, I can tell you that Irish pubs are everywhere on this planet! I have been around a little bit, and I would be hard-pressed to name a country that does not have an Irish pub. Off the top of my head, the only one I can think of is Brunei — and alcohol is illegal there! This is cool with me – I always have a good time in an Irish pub.
Which leads me to a theory I have: the Irish are trying to take over the world. Many societies have tried to rule the planet, using swords and bullets. But the Irish are leveraging a much more powerful substance — alcohol. This movement, through the placement of their bars all over the planet, is much more subtle and “grassroots”. And we all love to go to these Irish Pubs everywhere. They are immensely popular. Very clever, those Irish…
I had the great opportunity to meet and live with a local family in Cuzco. Elias and his family are friends of friends of mine (long story). Anyway, it has been a lot of fun sleeping at their house, hanging out with them, eating meals together, etc. Their whole family (Elias and all his brothers) all live pretty much next door to each other. From what I can tell, they eat together every meal. Cool.
Elias’ son, Antony, is a young guide in Cuzco. I hired him on for a sight-seeing tour. Instead of riding in a bus with a tour group, he and I biked from one location to another. Here he is showing me the way.
Green plants, yellow fields, black mountains. This is the view over my handlebars.
Elias, his friends and family have a weekly soccer game on Sundays. They stuck me in goal. Here I am going to kick the ball down-field badly. A great soccer player, I am not, haha. But, it was a blast playing with these guys, followed by food and beer.
I am going to spend some more quality time with the Andes, check you later, skaters.