Have you ever been to a place where the journey is so enriching that it feels like a void in your heart has been filled with beautiful experiences? A journey that brings you a sense of rejuvenation, exhilaration, and satisfaction. Journeys like these compel you to think about the unnecessary struggles of life and make you realize the true meaning of happiness. Just a swift thought of the experience refreshes your soul.
Peru! The name itself is enough to create a picture in one’s mind about an exotic and ancient civilization. This unique and fascinating country stands out with its unique culture and natural treasures. This travelogue is just a small reflection of how the invaluable experience in Peru changed my entire perception of life. When we (my folks and I) were still on board, it was clear that we won’t be sitting in the hotel room for sure, we were excited about all the thrilling experiences we were going to have in Peru. At midnight, in 2015, we finally landed in Lima, commonly called the ‘City of Kings’. We were tired and jet-lagged from the long journey so we decided to take some rest and then explore the city in the morning. Because of the excitement of visiting a new place, I woke up early the next morning.
Our hotel was located in Miraflores, and until the morning we did not realize how beautiful the place was. This was the moment I felt that this country would be giving me one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. We had our breakfast and were out to explore the city, one of the workers at the hotel suggested us to visit Plaza de Armas which was about a 30-minute ride from our hotel. Our cab driver told us that Plaza de Armas also called Plaza Mayor, is basically a board square and is the historical center of Lima. As a renowned UNESCO world heritage site, this was the most sought-after starting point for sightseeing as it had both cultural and historical significance.
Upon reaching the destination, I was totally amused by the architecture of the buildings. The unique structures made me feel like I was in a different world. A unique feature of the place was that most of the buildings were golden yellow in colour, giving them a royal look and feel. After hours of wandering on the streets and being enchanted by the architecture of the place, we were very hungry and decided to have a taste of the local cuisine. We were about to finish when suddenly we came across a huge crowd moving towards the Palacio del Gobierno (President’s palace), due to curiosity we followed them and came to know that the ‘changing of the guard’ ceremony was about to begin. Within a few minutes, there was music and the ceremony commenced, it was a memorable moment to witness those guards march in synchrony. As we moved from Plaza de Armas to Plaza San Martin there was a place called Jiron de la Union where no vehicles were allowed; walking through the narrow streets, we saw a mix of old and new building designs of houses, restaurants, and shops. We had covered almost all the streets and major ancient buildings. I have always been very fond of artifacts and objects of artistic, cultural and historical significance, and what could have been better than a museum to explore all these. Thanks to Google we found that Museo de la Nacion, the national museum was not very far from our location. It was one of the largest museums I had ever seen. We bought the tickets and went inside, it was filled with ancient relics and according to me, it was the best place for anyone who wished to explore Peru’s ancient history and gain an in-depth understanding of Peruvian culture. There were sculptures and paintings dating back to the Inca empire. The museum covered the entire archaeological history of Peru. As we moved ahead we saw a special section devoted to one of the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites– ‘Machu Picchu’. I was pretty sure that we were going to get a glimpse of Machu Picchu and as I entered the section my excitement level increased, there was a huge picture of Machu Picchu on the wall in which one could see each and every small detail of the place clearly.
I was in awe of it for a while and then observed each and every corner of that picture with keen interest. It was so intricate and detailed that I still have a vivid picture of the portrait in my mind. My father had to literally shake me up to remind me that there were many more things to explore in the museum including many paintings, monument miniatures, and cultural artifacts. After almost 3 hours of enjoying this place of my interest, we left the museum as it was about to close. We went back to our hotel room, we were exhausted and wanted to sleep but also excited as we were going to visit Machu Picchu the next morning.
Finally, it was the day when we were about to have a once in a lifetime experience of one of the seven wonders of the world and knew it would be etched in our minds forever. Machu Picchu is about 300 kilometers from Lima and there is no direct route connecting the two places, so we had to take a flight from Lima to Cusco which was a one and a half hour journey. We took a mini-van from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, then a train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and then after taking a shuttle bus and hearing all these strange names of places, we finally reached Machu Picchu. We had a feeling of relaxation on reaching the destination after such a long commute. But in order to experience something as amazing and ancient as this place, one has to bear with the travel time. We headed towards the main site, as soon as we reached I was spellbound with the scenic beauty of Machu Picchu.
The place was surreal and had an astonishing feel of history, heritage, and design. It felt like heaven, my eyes were wide open, my hands were shivering and I could feel my heart beating fast with awe and excitement. It took me a while to recover and regain all my senses. The architectural ruins, the field, with the mountainous backdrop covering Machu Picchu was picturesque and enthralling. We clicked pictures and I sat there for almost an hour or two just gaping at the beauty, appreciating the creation of nature and enjoying the peace that the place offered. After visiting this place I felt satisfied and had a sense of achievement. We came, we saw, we conquered was the feel of the trip.
Even today when I close my eyes in peace, I can still feel the beauty I experienced in the ancient land of Peru and it brings a smile on my face. I learned from my visit that with all the conundrums surrounding us, if we can just stop for a while and try to be at peace with our own selves then things will become simpler and life would be happier.