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Hometown Traveller: Breath-taking Machu Picchu offers lifetime of memories
NOTL travellers Milena and Dragan Veljkovic found the trek to Machu Picchu well worth the effort. Supplied

Milena Veljkovic
Special to The Lake Report

Everyone has a list of places they want to see or things they want to do – a “bucket list.“

Like most people I have a list, too, but there’s particular order for the places I want to visit.

I’m just happy to see anything that comes my way.

Not having any preference on where to go next, last November my husband Dragan and I took the opportunity to join friends on their journey to South America.

Our itinerary included Peru, Chile, Argentina, the Falkland Islands, Uruguay and Brazil.

Each country is unique and beautiful, with much to explore and experience.

From the breath-taking Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley in Peru, Chile’s famous wine region in the Maipo Valley (stretching from Santiago all the way to the Andes), glacial fjords and Patagonia encompassing the vast southernmost tip of South America (shared by Argentina and Chile) and passing through notoriously famous Cape Horn.

We walked alongside penguins on the Falklands, where we also had the pleasure of meeting  maritime archeologist Mensun Bound, who last year discovered explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s long-lost ship, the Endurance, beneath the Antarctic ice.

Among the other sights was the spectacular Iguazu Falls in a subtropical rainforest in Argentina, picturesque cosmopolitan Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, and last but not least Brazil, with its world famous Art Deco-style sculpture Christ The Redeemer, situated atop the Corcovado mountain, which makes it visible from anywhere in Rio.

All these places have left us with so many amazing memories and incredible experiences that makes it hard to pick a favourite.

However, one definitely stands out above the others.

Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, above the Urubamba River valley, is often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas.”

it is not the easiest place to get to, but once you make your way to the top it’s worth every breath taken to climb it.

You can’t help but to be in awe with the sight laid out before you while watching early-morning clouds slowly fade away, unveiling this beautiful once-forgotten place.

It’s almost surreal walking within the walls of more than 200 structures built 7,000 feet above sea level some nine centuries ago – without any use of metal tools or the wheel.

Machu Picchu’s Incan ruins are beautiful and disconcerting at the same time, without any clues written in the city or sculptures to suggest a purpose.

So many unanswered questions: Among them, who built the city and why did they abandon it?

Whether we ever find out the answers, one thing will remain. Building a place like this surrounded by such natural beauty will always be admired.

And if anyone is still asking themself whether a visit Machu Picchu is worthwhile, I would strongly recommend doing it.

It will leave you breathless in every sense of the word. The stunning mountain peaks with the city within mean the site will forever be etched in your mind.

The surreal images lingering in your head will leave you wondering if it was just a dream that felt so real.

I have been to many places in my lifetime and hope to see many more.

However, Machu Picchu will forever hold a special place that I had a privilege to visit and I hope someday you will, too.

Hometown Traveller features stories by Niagara-on-the-Lake residents about their adventures abroad. Send yours to editor@niagaranow.com.

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