Today is worth celebrating.
I'm pretty sure that I've seen the most beautiful moments of all my travels so far... today. The most frequent thought was, how could I possibly express these things? On to basics...
We needed to catch an early train to Machu Picchu. This meant leaving our hotel in Cusco at 4:30am, which necessarily meant waking up at 3:50. As we bussed out of Cusco in the dark, we were remarking the Southern stars and Venus steadily rising in the east. We climbed into a pass and, at 5:00am, the sun hit the glaciers on the peaks of a bowl of Andean mountains surrounding us. This was the beginning of a long slow dawn that was the most remarkable in my memory.
No one spoke, there were just a series of gasps, and this from a very seasoned group of film makers that have simply seen it all. Wheat, Eucalyptus, Lupin, Lavender, villages, mountains and a constantly flowering dawn.
We dropped into the valley of the Urubamba River. Red dirt and red brick homes. Finally, the people we saw as postcards in Cusco were at home. We met our train at Ollantaytambo and traveled through the river gorge to Aguas Calientes to the Hotel Andina. Further by bus to Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is a well documented beauty but pictures will never replace the wonder of the place. Sharp cut mountain peaks and foggy passes are why the Inca chose the setting. The large peak behind the town is where the gods lived. It is surprising that the buildings are whole, not ruins. The only thing missing are the straw roofs, re-created in a couple of cases. We spent the day working here, filming in many places and generally standing around with our mouths open.
I'm sitting here on a little balcony of my hotel room writing. A mad river is below me with huge boulders and pounding white water. In front of me, about one hundred yards away, is a mountain peak so shear that the entirety of it faces me like a mammoth stone, a thousand feet or more to a perfect peak where gods must surely still live. I struggle to write this, filled with inadequate metaphors. It is it's own reality, completely beyond my words.
I'm sure I've seen the most profound landscape that I've ever seen today. My companions were equally in awe. Today is worth celebrating.