We arrived in Cusco with a feeling of renewal, a giddy excitement for the road reminiscent of our first days on Mex 200. The road to Cusco had been inspiring in so many ways. Scrambling after our guide at Machu Picchu a few days later, catching the first glimpse of the ruins and the majesty of the surroundings felt radically appropriate.
Nowadays we throw around the word ‘sublime’ to describe gooey deserts or overpriced handbags. In Immanuel Kant’s epistemology, it meant something limitless, an aesthetically pleasing entity so huge that it made the perceiver’s head hurt. Machu Picchu isn’t just beautiful, it’s sublime.
— Mark Adams Turn Right at Machu Picchu
There is a great deal of legend, myth, and speculation surrounding this incredible fortress in the clouds. Some suppose Machu Picchu was intended as a kind of ancient resort where Incas could recharge through hunting, hiking, and relaxation. Others believe it was a strictly religious site, and indeed it would have been quite the pilgrimage even then.
One thing is certain about Machu Picchu, it does not stand alone in Incan history and should not be viewed that way. Intricately laid out trails (thousands of kilometers worth) connect various sites around Peru with startling geometric accuracy. A window at Machu Picchu catches the sunlight at a certain angle and at the exact right moment, reflects against another site’s window miles away.
Much like the Incas, we established our own journey en route to the ruins. Between Lima and Cusco we spent three days on the road with Logan’s parents, Jeff and Connie, riding in back. We had our sights set on Peru’s largest tourist draw, yet the road itself turned out to be an eye opening endeavor. We found ourselves catapulted out of our usual routine with two new additions to the truck’s seating capacity.
The majority of long driving days fly by, the scenery unnoticed like a workday commute. This all changed with Connie and Jeff. They had questions about everything from the tree species to the construction of mud bricks. Our perspective shifted along with the elevation. From sea level to 14,500’ we saw our own journey with fresh vision.
We departed with both eyes full of the sacred citadel, but unlike the Incas we exited in style and luxury on board the Hiram Bingham Orient Express train. This was truly a treat for us. An elegant five course meal paired with wine and finished off with a riotous good time in the bar car. We danced with people from all over the world all the way back to Cusco.
Connie and Jeff have ridden along for some major highlights, our wedding and now Machu Picchu. We relish the bonds we continue to strengthen with them as they share in our progress. Bidding teary farewells a week later on the shores of Lake Titicaca, we realized we were itching to get back home, which is to say, the open road. We felt more connected with our route, our road life, and our personal intentions than ever before and we have them to thank for our rebirth on the road. Te amamos mucho Jeff and Connie!