Seeing Machu Picchu for the first time is like a picture perfect postcard coming to life followed by a massive “wow” and “it’s real, stunning”. At nearly 8,000 feet above sea level it is one of the most popular visitor destinations in South America. Located high in the Peruvian Andes, Machu Picchu was hidden from the outside world for hundreds of years It was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 with the guidance of local indigenous farmers. He was an academic, explorer and politician from the United States of America.

Machu Picchu is a beautiful landscape, it makes you contemplate and appreciate the beauty of earth, and it’s even more beautiful going with a 4 yr old!  I think only a handful of places exist on earth that are as picturesque as this and sharing it with my son was a blessing.  The fact that the ancient site is so green and high above the Urubamba River which winds around it making it a truly unique and magical place to experience.  Surrounded by lush forest, valley’s and hills with definition to die for not forgetting the mystical cloud that rests above its peak makes you want to close your eyes, open, then repeat, you are literally struck with utter fascination before the mind can contemplate truly what the eyes are seeing. My son Joshie was so blown away.

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Once we boarded the coach from Aguas Calientes which took a hair raising climb up to the top of the mountain via ‘as close to the edge as possible’ It was so steep and high that only once you had reached the top and looked over from the other side of the valley do you actually realise what you’ve just driven up and at that point you thank God for having kept you alive!

MP6The road winds its way to the top with no less then 10 tight hairpin turns, and it gets crazier as you know the driver can’t see around any of the approaching corners, you are on a single road which is being used by tourist coaches travelling in both directions! Up and down.  Several times we met coaches passing us, the driver would just simply move out of the way to the point where you couldn’t see the ground anymore out the side of the window, talk about being on the edge, there was no edge! all the more pleasurable; sitting at the front, me and josh on a stand alone double set of chairs with a flimsy armrest which I probably bent after gripping it so tightly on the way up whilst the rest of the passengers were on sturdy rows of three on each side.  I think I spent the majority of the time saying my final prayers before expecting to fall off the edge only getting more and more intense the higher we climbed.

On another realm which happened to be the realm of ‘Joshua goes butterfly spotting’ as a curious 4 year old he kept nudging me pointing at these amazing and I mean seriously amazing butterflies which flashed and changed colours from a vivid red to an electric blue, then red again, constantly flashing as it motioned through the humid air.

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At the peak of the mountain where we climbed down from the coach and were directed to the entrance of Machu Picchu, we presented our tickets and received a good old fashioned stamp on the back of the hand, once through the wooden tunnel and around a few rock cliff edges… yes it really was that intense, bare in mind Josh was only 4 years old, what was I doing!? Gripping his wrist and keeping him close secretly inside I was thrilled at this awesome adventure that normal single mums with kids don’t get to do, we were different… We were brave and awesome, stepping out of our comfort zone and living, seeing and experiencing life, even if it meant walking on the edge.

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The slender terraces to either side of Machu Picchu were used to grow exotic vegetables, similar to courgettes and peppers; other terraces might have contained ornamental flowers. The 700-plus year old terraces preserved soil, promoted agriculture, and served as part of an extensive water-distribution system that conserved water and limited erosion on the steep slopes.

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On the other side of these giant steps we met our tour guide who took Joshua’s hand and whisked him off filling his ears with stories of the ancient Inca Empire that once sacrificed their young on the top of the stone structures as an offering for rain and fertile ground… We were taken to a stone doorway, which of course had no door because Machu Picchu doesn’t have any doors…  We were led through to a stunning view; Beauty in a landscape.

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We met another guide with a flag attached to his backpack along with a cheer-some bunch of tourists, we waved our first guide off who wished us all the best on our journey throughout Peru.  We were shown around the main part of Machu Picchu which lasted about 40 minutes then we were left to go exploring ourselves, we hiked steep steps winding through bushes and jungle like trees with our obvious aim; getting to the top! I’m not going to exaggerate but it was hard work, seemingly more so for me then Josh! “Come on mummy hurry up, your legs are longer than mine” is what I was getting from him, as a 4 year old they are used to climbing and running, jumping and hopping all over the place.

 

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Reaching the top! Amazing view!

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Everything placed in the world is to be discovered.

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We saw Llamas grazing on the grass and some where up high on the steps, this picture was taken as we were on the edge, I instructed Joshua to get down, I didn’t want Josh to get scared or to run off. Llamas are very social animals and live with others as a herd.

Llamas have a fine undercoat, which is used for garments and handicrafts. The coarse outer hair is used to make wall hangings and rugs; fibers come in an array of colors ranging from grey and white to reddish-browns, light brown, dark brown and black.

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