It only took me 30 years to get there!
It was way back in 1990 that I became fascinated with Machu Picchu and wanted to make a trip to experience it in person.
At the time I was a single mom raising a child in the SF Bay Area. Looking at the distance and the cost to get there was unthinkable for me. In addition, I had another underlying fear that kept me from pursuing my dream. I have terrible problems with my ears any time I have a change in altitude. It was so bad that for many, many years it kept me from flying. (I have very narrow eustachian tubes that open and close at their own discretion and when ascending to high altitudes are subject to remain closed for weeks)
BTW - for any of you who suffer from this problem when flying - I found a remedy that works for me. A product called "earplanes" (I will let you do your own research, but they have made it possible for me to fly again) Of course they were not made specifically for mountain climbing to 11,000 ft, so I was still afraid to make the trip to Machu Picchu.
Long story short, in 2018 I decided I had waited long enough and planned a trip for Feb 2019. I would make the trip and deal with the consequences later. As, it turned out, I did not have ANY problems with my ears at all! In a way I felt kind of silly to have let that fear keep me from my dream for such a long time, but everything happens for a reason so Feb 23, 2019 was the "right time" for me.
BTW - February is the rainiest and most miserable month to go to Machu Picchu. The absolute LOWEST of the LOW season!! We were warned about the heavy rains and flooding that occurs and also that it might be a bit chilly. We brought our rain gear and warm weather clothes and we went anyway - we were greeted with the best weather anyone could expect! Sunny skies and very warm temperatures.
I am SO happy I finally went!
What is Machu Picchu?
For many years, it was uncertain if Machu Picchu was a city, a mountain fortress, a religious shrine, a royal palace or various combinations of these.
Machu Picchu is a city comprised of more than 200 buildings, temples, houses, pathways, fountains and altars all cut from grey granite from the mountain top. There is no evidence of any fortified walls, which means that it was not a fortress. Many of the stone blocks weigh more than 50 tons, and all are cut and fitted together in such a precise manner that it raises incredulity as to how they created such a monumental place. Continuing archaeological exploration has produced a consensus that it was a highland retreat of the Inca royalty. "Machu Picchu was simply a royal estate," says archaeologist Richard Burger.
An old Incan trail leads its way through the mountains to the city of Machu Picchu. Archaeologists believe that the site was built in approximately 1400 AD by King Pachacuti ; however, local legends denote that Machu Picchu was a sacred place built far earlier than that. Therefore, it is not exactly clear why it was built, by whom, or how.
WHO discovered Machu Picchu?
1911: __EXPLORING IN Peru, Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham locates Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas. The event will set off a century of controversy.
Bingham had already made two expeditions to South America – and published a book on each – when he returned to Peru in 1911. He located the last Inca capital, Vitcos, and made the first ascent of the 21,763-foot Mt. Coropuma. Then came the find that would make him famous: Machu Picchu.
But did he really discover Machu Picchu?
Hardly, He was led there by local people who lived nearby and were using Machu Picchu's agricultural terraces. He did, however, conduct the first archaeological excavations there and uncovered the famous structures hidden by four centuries of disuse. He also documented, mapped and photographed the site over several years.
What was Bingham looking for?
After locating the capital, Vitcos, he was hoping to find the last Inca stronghold, Vilcabamba, which fell to the Spanish in 1573. Machu Picchu was in the wrong direction from Vitcos to be a likely Vilcabamba, but Bingham was so impressed by Machu Picchu's mountainous impregnability that for the first years of his exploration he thought he must have found Vilcabamba. Source
If you have an interest...Machu Picchu is the most amazing urban creation and one of the most important heritage sites in the world --
And, if you want to know we got to the top, check out our video below