Macchu Picchu celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. With this in mind, I dragged my obliging mother, my two young daughters, and myself to a remote town in the Sacred Valley of Urubamba, Peru. This one—far less tread—was where I hoped to expose my girls to one of the ancient Wonders of the World before SMS and CGI take over their sweet minds completely.
Before our arrival in Urubamba, I studied up on my Incan history and prepared to be awed by the intuition of ancient construction. What I didn’t anticipate was how wowed I would be by the Tambo del Inka Resort where we stayed. It’s a hidden vista built directly into the mountain just outside of an ex-pat neighborhood in a sleepy Peruvian town. We left the premises of the resort at dawn to walk a winding forest path to two small train cars that waited to roll us down a two-and-a-half hour track to Macchu Picchu.
The train careened through the visual feast of a lush range and a rumbling Urubamba river, and we snacked as well on the charming basket of refreshments the staff provided, each accompanied by a traditional coca tea – a bevvie surely not kosher in our local watering holes. We reached the town of Macchu Picchu early, and felt a bit like Hiram Bingham himself arriving first to the “old peak.” Our trek up that Wonder of the World proved both trying (my mom made out with an oxygen mask) and comical (pictures taken near playful grazing llamas revealed that, in fact, llamas are rather large and scary to a six-year-old), and the sheer size of the structures was awe-inspiring. I held on to my girls’ hands until they were white as we ascended narrow dirt paths without guard rails; the Rikrit tee I was wearing aptly read “Fear Eats the Soul.”
As we boarded a tiny train back to a secluded vista, the authenticity of our immersion in the Peruvian countryside felt overwhelming. Our climb had been like a precious moment captured: we were left unjaded, exhausted, and happy. The walls of Macchu Picchu are far away, but my “Mom-chu Picchu” will remain a closely cherished memory.