We stayed the night in Ollantaytambo to catch the first train to Machu Picchu in the morning. Our hostel just steps from the park, so we didn’t feel the need to climb them.
We preferred to take the train rather than stay in tourist-laden Agua Calientes and enjoyed the sunrise as the train maneuvered on old tracks. First sight of Machu Picchu immersed in mist was still a sight to behold. And I will repeat what so many have said before me, being there is nothing like looking at the photos. To be surrounded with a 360 degree view of impeccable stonework in the center of mountain peaks is an infinitesimal feeling. The magnitude and beauty is hard to capture in just images, but i tried.
After a little deliberation, we decided to hire a guide and was thankful for the historical information he provided. He focused on the theory that Machu Picchu was a University than many pilgrimage to but only few were allowed in. He looked at the two of us gringo giants, standing separately, but having arrived together and said, “To be here, you need three things: Love, Patience, and Personality. The same things you need in any relationship.” Oh, how much that little man with a big smile saw. We debated the last word, possibly lost in translation to mean honesty or integrity. Any which way it was solid advice. We left as quietly as we came, the early wake up and altitude helping with a sleepy afternoon.
The days passed quickly, as did the miles of asphalt, dirt, rain and hail, and soon it was time to return to Arequipa for his flight home.
We parted ways with more truths revealed than I would have expected. Or maybe it is the outcome I wasn’t fully expecting. We realized out paths, even though they converged for two weeks, were to remain separate in the future. He returns his KLR to the shop and himself to a rooted life in California, whereas I throw a leg over my KLR and continue my nomadic ways, south and unknowing. It was a welcomed and enjoyable interruption. I hope he finds a road better suited for him. As for now, I continue on mine, following my dreams and now making new ones.
And then we return to our regularly scheduled program…