Peru and Machu Pichu Tour

A dream destination realized

As we stood on Machu Picchu and took in the astounding beauty of the ancient ruins and mystical scenery, tears fell from many of our faces as we realized a dream come true to visit this world wonder. However, as astonishing an experience as visiting Machu Picchu was we found our entire tour of Peru to be amazing.

Our Peru tour began in the cosmopolitan city of Lima. It is the capital of Peru and hosts many wonderful colonial buildings and squares. We visited Lima’s historic center and the Cathedral. The highlight of our tour was a visit to the Priory of the Holy Rosary, better known as the Saint Dominic Priory of Lima. The Dominican Order began building this magnificent complex in 1535. The reception hall possesses a beautiful coffered ceiling composed of hundreds of carved wooden elements. Here in 1821 the composer Jose Bernardo Alcedo wrote the music for the Peruvian National Anthem.

Another fascinating history of the priory is that it houses the Chapel of Saint Martin de Porres. The chapel was built at the end of the 18th century on the site of the old infirmary where St. Martin used to care for the sick. The chapel houses the saint’s tomb and urns containing his relics.

After a wonderful visit of Lima, we flew to Cusco and onward to the Sacred Valley. As the Inca considered Cusco the navel of the world, the Sacred Valley was the breadbasket and the river Urubamba that flows through it the lifeblood. Gazing upon this astonishingly beautiful valley, it is no surprise the Inca considered it sacred. After arriving in the valley, we settled into our riverside resort where we had time to relax and take in the scenery and the delightful sounds of the river and bird life.

On our first full day in the valley, we visited the Ollantaytambo temple and fortress. Second in importance only to Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo includes some the Inca’s best stonework, including a series of ceremonial baths, elegant trapezoidal doorways and a sun temple that faces the rising sun.

While in the village of Ollantaytambo, we were able to view the annual founding day celebration. It was delightful to experience all the different traditional clothing of the different communities as they gathered to celebrate the founding of the village.

The following day, we experienced a favorite activity of our group and that was visiting the Amaru community high in the Andes. The Amaru people greeted us with handmade flower necklaces and tea. They were eager to share with us how they live, cook, prepare wool and show us the beautiful handicrafts in which they are so adept at making.

During our visit at the community, they helped us dress in local traditional clothing and then they provided many demonstrations to show us a sampling of their daily life. One might say the best part of the visit was the delicious lunch they prepared for us using traditional cooking methods and ingredients. Of course, potatoes were on the menu as Peru has more than 3,800 varieties.

After our visit with the community, we proceeded to view the ancient Pisac ruins nearby. What is unique about these ruins, apart from their extraordinary beauty, is their range. Here you will find not only religious Inca architecture but also residential, agricultural and military.

After all these adventures, it was on to Machu Picchu. We began early in the morning and boarded the panoramic train to Aguas Calientes, which is the village below Machu Picchu. As the train rode along the beautiful scenery of the Urubamba River, anticipation grew amongst our group members – all eager to fulfill their dream visit.

We arrived in Aguas Calientes and rode up the mountain to the entrance of Machu Picchu. With assistance from local helpers and the use of off-road wheelchairs, we navigated the terrain of the mountain and then we turned the corner that revealed one of the most amazing landscapes in the world. Many photographers claim that it is impossible to take bad photo of Machu Picchu, but even the best camera cannot capture the magnificent panorama that fuses manmade and natural beauty at the lost city of the Inca. Machu Picchu most surely has to be seen to be believed. One must see and feel the mist falling from the mountains; one must smell the freshness of air and experience the silence that can still be enjoyed over the other tourists in the area.

At first surreal as all your senses take it in and then the realization that I am actually standing here rushes over you and the emotional impact of all this majesty hits you. The experience is more emotional for those who thought that they would never be able to experience this place because of their disability or mobility difficulties. However, the dream became a reality for our Flying Wheels Travel group.

One would think that after visiting Machu Picchu, the rest of the trip would be anticlimactic, but that was simply not the case. After spending another day in the Sacred Valley to relax and rejuvenate ourselves, we headed for the ancient capital of the Inca, Cusco.

On our way back to Cusco, we stopped to visit Sacsayhuaman. This stone fortress of huge zigzag walls, carved from stone blocks weighing hundreds of tons, was the scene of the Inca’s last stand against the Spanish in Cusco. After visiting the fortress, we enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch near the fortress. As we watched the alpacas grazing in front of us, we delighted in the view of Cusco below in the valley and the magnificent Andes Mountains around us. We asked ourselves, if life could get any better than this experience.

During our last days, we spent time in the beautiful city of Cusco. Spanish colonial architecture built upon ancient Inca foundations dot the city, providing a rich history and esthetic reviled by few places in the world. One of the architectural gems of this city is the Catedral de Cusco. This baroque cathedral, built atop a former Inca palace, dominates the town’s Plaza de Armas and is filled with a huge range of paintings from the Cusco School, elegant carved choir stalls and a gold-covered Renaissance alter.

Peru is an amazing place to visit. Yes, it is full of ancient history, colonial art and delicious food. However, perhaps the most impressive aspect of Peru is the people and the depth of their culture, which continues to maintain its unique identity today.

With Flying Wheels Travel, it is possible for people with disabilities; chronic illness or difficulties walking to experience this wonderful county - enjoy its delicious culinary offerings and meet the friendly and amazing people. We hope you join us on our next journey to Peru.

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