The coastal part of Peru provided us with lots of great thrills: sand boarding in the dunes at Pisco, the mysterious Nazca lines, Paracas National Park and the Ballestas islands. Arequipa with an amazing view on the Misti volcano was a beautiful break before we crossed one of the highest passes in the Andes and moved inland.
What would be the highlight in this second part of our trip? The island of knitting men, the floating islands in the Titicaca lake, or Cusco and the famous Machu Picchu?
The Titicaca lake is the highest commercial navigable lake in the world (3811 m or 12500 ft). That high up in the mountains the deep blue colors of the sky and the mirroring water were impressive. The Uros people live here on floating islands of tortora reeds. Centuries ago they moved to these islands as a way of defense from colliding with the Inca and Colla cultures. The islands are quite touristy as they depend a lot on selling their handicraft to tourists, but it is seriously a place worth visiting.
You can also visit (or spend the night) at Taquile island, also known as the island of Knitting Men. Here the men walk around with knitting gear, creating the most lovely hats, sweaters and so on. Who ever thought knitting men could be an attraction??
On to Cusco. I loved that city. We spent hours on the main square (Plaza de Armas) just watching people. We also visited some nearby sites like Ollantaytambo (a town and an Inca archeological site).
After a day or two we went off to visit the place that is on many of our bucket lists. We didn’t went hiking for 3 days like many travelers seem to do. We just took the train and made it up there early morning: Machu Picchu.
What is there left to say about Machu Picchu? Google and you will find thousands of travel journals, stories and reports about this elevated place. It is elevated, only by the mere sight of it: a city on top of the mountain in the middle of the jungle.
What actually struck me the most was the mysterious reason why these people choose this difficult to reach place to build their city (we assume it acted as a city). Did they want to be close to their gods in the sky? Where they moving away from the earth as far as possible, just to be ready for whatever (natural) disaster might strike them? Or were they also hiding from invaders, a defense from colliding with others?
We still don’t know. Of course we will discover the reasons why, tomorrow or in one hundred years from now. We will discover more cities like Machu Picchu and somewhere there will be a clue for us to understand. It will take some smart scientist or historian (maybe he was born yesterday without having a clue about his destiny) to recognize the signs. But in the end we will know.
Why? The Macchu Picchu mystery
People always want to know why, don’t they? Don’t we just hate to let things undefined. When people are unable to clarify and explain, they get restless. The most beautiful wonders of the world however, are the ones that have remained unexplained. We can still not stop discussing about the Easter Island statues. We are still unsure how the pyramids could have been built without machinery and why they are shaped as they are, and we still don’t know the reasons behind the Nazca lines. And what about Stonehenge? Machu Picchu is also one of these mysterious wonders of the world. I like these kinds of places because the leave room for imagination!
I call for listing the 7 Mysterious Wonders of the World! Can be small or big, with local or global awareness. This list would make my bucket list. How about you? Do you have a unexplained wonder of the world to add to the list?
P.S. Don’t you dare to make comments about me wearing this original Peruvian hat. It’s a cultural thing!