The time had just about come to close the chapter on this particular journey. We woke up in Aguas Calientes still stunned by the day before. We spent a few more hours exploring the area and went to the Museo de Sitio Manuel Chavez Ballion, a little museum at the base of the mountain about the history of the region and Machu Picchu. We also walked through the botanical garden alongside the museum. We then grabbed our luggage and headed to the train station. Knowing that Machu Picchu sat just a short drive up the twisty switchbacks, hidden away, it was difficult to get on the train back to Cusco. But we still had a couple of days left in Peru and a few more places to explore.
After a few hours on the train, we reached Poroy outside Cusco and had a taxi waiting for us from the hotel we were staying at. It was a short ride into the city. Once at our hotel, we walked down towards Plaza de Armas and found a delicious Peruvian restaurant called Cafe Morena. Their Pan con Chicharron and Jungle Fritters are to die for. With a full stomach, we walked around the square and then headed back to the hotel to get an early start the next day.
During our last two days in Peru, we started our hike up the steep steps of Cusco to Sacsayhuaman, the local ruins. Of course, Sacsayhuaman didn’t quite compare to some of the other sites we had recently seen, but the area provided a great view to the city.
We then got lost in the city, walking along the cobblestone streets from square to square. Blue doors dotted the stucco and cement buildings serving as gateways to the past. We grabbed some tasty slices at La Bodega 138 and headed back out to explore the local museums; Museo Ink, Museo Municipal De Arte Contemporaneo and the Museo de Historia Regional.
After soaking up the history of the area, we stumbled back out into the streets in front of Plaza de Armas where a large procession of dancing of all ages was taking place. The children were dressed in beautiful colors as they danced to a mix of Peruvian music. It was just as you would expect it to be after seeing the rich vibrant Peruvian culture. After enjoying the show, we tasted rich Peruvian chocolate and treasured the night.
The next day we visited a local Peruvian market and collected our last souvenirs before heading to the airport. Returning from such a journey is never easy. But what I walked away from Peru with was invaluable – a love for the people, culture and country overall and a strong desire to return to South America as soon as I could. Travel to a new place will undoubtedly always create a new perspective and open the minds of those willing to accept that we are all very different, but at the same, so very similar. The beauty lies in accepting and embracing each other for our uniqueness and inherent value, no matter our differences. Thank you Peru for opening up my eyes once again and carving out a new place within my heart. Until we meet again.
For a video montage of the whole trip, visit this link – The Road to Machu Picchu!