Once upon a time, I was 15. Back in those days, I use to dream with my best friend about this place and doing a backpacking trip together. Almost 15 years later, the dream was finally able to come true. We hiked along the Salkantay Trail for 5 long days (one long post coming soon just on this), went up 2 thousand steps, met a bunch of fantastic people from all over the place and reached our target destination: Machu Picchu.
This place is known to be one of the most important archeological places in the world. I knew it was a big deal, I knew it was impressive, but nothing prepared me to actually realise how MASSIVE this Incan city actually is!
The whole citadel was build in the fifteen century and, in a few lines, I will try to explain what happened in Peru in the fifteenth century. The Spanish conquered the country, took over a very rich, powerful and highly populated empire, killed an incredible amount of people and destroyed almost completely every single Inca site that existed. The Quechua, people that lived under the Inca empire, very smartly were able to block all paths that led to Machu Picchu and cover the whole thing with vegetation. This is the only reason why in present days we are able to see almost an entire Inca city.
The other thing that really impressed me when I was there was to find out that only recently the city was discovered. In 1911, an American explorer found the site led by a local boy. Imagine how many other things can we still find covered and/or hidden in the cities we live in around the world. Needless to say that the visit is more than worth it and that every pain in my body to get there was easily rewarded.
*Fun fact: Machu Picchu means Old Mountain.