I recently returned to Peru’s glorious mountainous spot after ten years and sat again on the terraces of Machu Picchu. The scenery has the same awe-inspiring feel. And once again for the 2nd time I am left wondering ‘how did the Incas do that?’ as I gaze upon the stone architecture. There is a constant din of noise filling the background; a baby cries, a guard’s whistle blows, rules are yelled in Spanish. It’s the progress of tourism in the last 10 years. A decade brings many changes; changes in me and changes in Machu Picchu.
The UNESCO World Heritage site has thousands more visitors and a number of new restrictions. It’s open much earlier so that more people can have access to the site. The tree in the middle of the ruins is definitely taller. Tourists follow llamas around trying to get the perfect Instagram shot. All of the terraces used to be open to wander but now there is just ¼ of one terrace open to the public. It’s where I sit as I contemplate these thoughts. It’s where I sat 10 years ago and contemplated the thoughts of leaving my job to travel around the world.
This time I have my niece in tow she vacillates from being in awe of the ancient site and then simply wanting to go back to town and have french fries. Last time I had a point and shoot camera, but this time I have proper equipment and I am eager to take pictures. However, it is a challenge to shoot around 2500 visitors. Our guide talks but I don’t really hear anything he’s saying. I’m too busy plotting the next photo and watching the light spread across the ancient site.
Machu Picchu Terraces
Morning sun provides a spotlight!
Llama Grazing in Machu Picchu. See above, the same lone tree stands in the middle of the ruins – a few feet taller.
Machu Picchu as the sun rises
A llama checks out my niece Megan
Descending the steep stone steps
The view of the river below
Sherry Ott is a refugee from corporate IT who is now a long term traveler, blogger, and photographer. She’s a co-founder of Briefcasetobackpack.com, a website offering career break travel inspiration and advice.
Additionally, she runs an around the world travel blog writing about her travel and expat adventures at Ottsworld.com.com.