Making Up for Lost Opportunities: Returning to Peru

by Eric Walton on January 17th, 2014

                                           Late afternoon in the town of Aguas Calientes
One often hears it said that we tend to regret more the things we've left undone than the things we've done. This is something of a tautology, given the strict meaning of the word "regret". Properly speaking, one has remorse for the things (though presumably not all the things) one has done and one regrets not having done things that, in hindsight, one feels one should have. The poet Ogden Nash characterized remorse as "a violent dyspesia of the mind". Any morally honest person who has reached the age of reason will have to admit to having at least some remorse and some regrets and any life so lived that a moment's sincere reflection will not reveal several examples of both or either is a life of either unenviably timidity or complete sociopathy.

I had the pleasure several years ago of visiting Lima, the capital city of Peru, and though my stay was woefully brief, I tried, as always, to make the most of it. I explored the city on-foot and ventured beyond the city to some of the nearby ruins and other archaeological sites. Though it certainly could not be said that I failed to take full advantage of my limited time in Peru, as the trip drew to a close, I found myself regretting not having sojourned further afield and especially to Machu Picchu. The more I learned about this extraordinary site, the more my regret of having missed it compounded, and so I resolved to someday return to Peru and visit the ruins of the Lost City of The Incas. Which brings us to the present, or, more accurately, the very recent past.

Earlier this month, I returned to the beautiful country of Peru and visited not only Machu Picchu, but also the wonderful city of Cusco and the towns of Aguas Calientas and Urubamba. These are all remarkable destinations that, even during the rainy season, have much to recommend them. One word of caution, however: Apparently the height of the rainy season (between January and March) is not an ideal time to visit the Andean Highlands. Only one or two days after I visited Machu Picchu, the site was rendered completely inaccessible by an enormous landslide which I was told would take ten days to clean up. I've certainly had closer calls and narrower misses, but it would have been a sincere disappointment to have traveled so far and for so long (New York to Lima, Lima to Cusco, Cusco to Ollantaytambo, Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, Aguas Calientas almost to Machu Picchu) only to be thwarted by a force majeure.

The following and above are a small sample of photos I took over the course of my seven glorious (and remorseless) days in Peru.

                                                         The Lost City of The Incas
                                         A stray dog on the streets of Aguas Calientes
       A young woman in Chinchero demonstrates traditional dying and weaving techniques.
                                              Some herbs used in the dying process
                                     Alpaca yarn and some local herbs used for dying
                                    Two men in a doorway near the town of Chinchero
                   Raindrops on Fuchsia flowers (Fuchsia vargasiana) in the Sacred Valley
            A woman in traditional garb and accompanied by a llama on the streets of Cusco
                                                                 Rain in the distance
                                                Machu Picchu and the Urubamba River
                                The Urubamba River and the town of Aguas Calientes
                                                     A religious icon in a hotel in Cusco
                             A man delivers herbs in the narrow streets of Chinchero.
                                    Flowers bloom at the Sol Y Luna resort in Urubamba.
                                                  An alpaca surveys Machu Picchu.
                                                           On a tour bus in Cusco
                                            A man stands beside the road in Chinchero.
                                             A boy walks along the road in Chinchero.
                                  A dog inspects something in a courtyard in Cusco.
                              An elderly woman begs for money on the street in Cusco.
                 Two guests are lead to their casita at the Sol Y Luna resort in Urubamba.
                                                        Plaza Des Armas in Cusco
                                     Raindrops on flower petals in the Sacred Valley
All text and images, copyright 2014 by Eric Walton

Posted in Eric Walton, Machu Picchu, Cusco    Tagged with Eric Walton, Peru, rainy season, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientas


Rob - January 18th, 2014 at 8:50 AM
Great pictures! I especially like the one with the woman standing next to the giant llama.
- February 5th, 2014 at 8:36 AM
Yes, the llamas in Cusco are notoriously large. It can be unsettling at first, but I got used to it eventually.
Jade - February 5th, 2014 at 1:14 AM
What exquisite indelible memories! You should have told me that you might stay at the Sol y Luna with a "Pack with a Purpose" initiative--I could have given you many school supplies and academic materials for Peruvian children there. Thank you for sharing this lovely sequel to an initial foray enriched by such diverse cultures and natural beauty.
- February 5th, 2014 at 8:39 AM
Thank you for the lovely comment. I was not aware of the PAck with a Purpose initiative, but it sounds like an excellent program. I will keep it in mind for my next trip abroad. :)

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