My memory of my first train journey to Machu Picchu came flooding in to my mind as we sat on a modern train. In the olden days you’d be sat with the locals, with their chickens, parrots, livestock, domestics carrying bundles, and the general hustle and bustle of people getting around in a small space. Back then the station at Machu Picchu was where all the hotels, shops and restaurants were. One of the hotels I stayed in in the past was in the station, and I remembered powercuts and no hot water. But at the time I felt ‘this is how it is, get on with it’. So to get on this smart train in a first class carriage, I felt worlds away.
Our hotel, the pueblo, was set in the mountains, with the most beautiful orchid collection, wild birds and the lovely sound of the river. We dropped off our luggage and took the first available bus up to Machu Picchu temple. It’s always exciting for me to hear the comments when people first see it, as we walk round a tiny blind bend and there it is in full view, just out of nowhere. Over the years I’ve got to know a little track that leads to the most spectacular vista. Once we got there, Pedro and the tour guide took everybody off and I went to my special little places just to reconnect with this ancient site.
The photos the girls took were stunning. And they had a fire ceremony with Pedro by the crystal cave. With that fire they gave the spirit of the mountain all the emotional baggage that they don’t want to take up to the Sun Gate the next day. One of the group, Nicky, had a big birthday on the day we arrived at Machu Picchu. So that evening we had dinner, and the chef made her a lovely cake. She was in awe of her surroundings and all the things we’d been able to offer her for her day.
Next morning we were up at 6 and on the first bus up to Machu Picchu at 6.30, to walk to the Sun Gate with Pedro, who took us to some major ceremonial places on the way up and on the way back down. He gave the group a sense of what Machu Picchu has to offer to every traveller if only they open their minds to it, and their hearts to it – it’s life changing, empowering and great fun.
Ever is an unusual character, with an amazing shop in Aguas Calientes. He travels the world with ancient instruments that produce the most incredible sounds, and we were invited to share an experience with him as he played them. This music refines you, it retunes you and rebalances you. It does that by connecting with every aspect of you. The ancient sounds are primal to every human being and they enable us to switch from that everyday rat race that we live in to a place of peace and calm within (and that can’t be a bad thing).