Machu Picchu - why I didn't want to go and how I ended up loving it

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Why I didn't want to go and how I ended up loving it!

When I first landed in Perú I had one resolution: I would under no circumstances go to Machu Picchu. I had seen it in a million pictures and literally every single person I talked to about going to Peru would ask: "Ah, Machu Picchu, no?" and that was the extent of their knowledge on the country. I wanted to experience the "other" part of Peru, the "off-the-beaten-track" places, the part that not everyone knew about. And anyway, almost 200 dollars for a day trip there? No way. I was a poor student! Too expensive, too full of tourists, and seriously, what was all that excitement about after all? I mean the history was interesting and everything, but after all it was nothing but a bunch of stones anymore, right? No way, was I gonna pay for that. Boy, was I in the wrong. 

 One of my first views of Machu Picchu

One of my first views of Machu Picchu

Thank God, Things change

Things change though and thank god in this case they did. On a trip with two girlfriends, on which we had already gone to Arequipa, La Paz, and Puno, the next "logical" steps were Cusco and Machu Picchu. Since the other two really wanted to go I let myself be convinced to just go for it and give it a chance. That first time (yes, I ended up going a second time), we opted for a one day tour: get up at about 3 am, get picked up by a bus who brings you to the train station in Urubamba, take the train from there to Aguas Calientes where you take yet another bus up to Machu Picchu. It's a long trip. So far, I really wasn't the best travel buddy. My expectations were super low and I doubted that all the hassle was going to be worth it, I was tired and mad at the others for having convinced me to break my one resolution.

 Foggy Morning at Machu Picchu

Foggy Morning at Machu Picchu

Arriving at Machu Picchu

 One of my favorite Pictures from Machu Picchu!

One of my favorite Pictures from Machu Picchu!

As we finally got to Machu Picchu at about 10 am, at first I thought I had been right all along: the sheer masses of tourists were insane, it WAS expensive and on top of that, there was fog everywhere. After all this, we weren't even going to see anything?!

What Machu Picchu really is

However, as we walked through, somehow the morning fog made it all look mystic and secretive and became (an important) part of the experience. Through the fog, I could imagine what this place had been like in the past, I could see women and men wakeing, going about their daily duties. I could feel the vibration in the air that's intricate to any place that has seen history. I was probably imagining most of it, but I was blown away. As time went on, the weather did clear up and it ended up being a beautiful day with the most gorgeous views. Plus, the masses of tourists that I had feared didn't seem so bad in the huuuge area that Machu Picchu covers. As soon as we had hiked up to the Sungate (which took us about an hour, including about 1000 stairs and 100 stops to admire the view and take pictures) and looked down on Machu Picchu, the people didn't matter at all anymore. The view was simply amazing. All of a sudden, I could feel the magic that draws thousands and thousands of people to Machu Picchu every year. I'm not someone to believe in things like that, but the energy of this place captivated me in ist entirety. I sat there, imagining what people's lives had been like when it was first built. Machu Picchu in the time of the Incas…

 Barely any Tourists visible at Machu Picchu

Barely any Tourists visible at Machu Picchu

Why I fell in Love with Machu Picchu

To me, the beauty of Machu Picchu is not in the stones and buildings. The place has an atmosphere to it, that simply can't be described, not in words and not in pictures - you just have to go there and experience it for yourself. Sit down, walk around, look at and feel the beauty of the place, and I swear, even if you are a skeptic like me, you'll end up falling in love with Machu Picchu.

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 Author of this text is Viktoria, founder of the Female Travel Collective, wanderluster, photography enthusiast, outdoorswoman & theater geek!

Author of this text is Viktoria, founder of the Female Travel Collective, wanderluster, photography enthusiast, outdoorswoman & theater geek!

Write for the Female Travel Collective