Wednesday, November 27th 2019
I pull back the covers of the hotel bed and quickly crawl under them. Even after the hot shower and dry clothes, I was still chilled to the bone from the pouring rain that greeted us upon arrival in Aguas Calientes. My brother and I arrived on the train only a few hours ago, and having not planned a place to stay beforehand, we took shelter in the first hotel we found. The room was pricey but in that moment, we didn’t care – we were tired and ready to take a load off, literally.
I remain on my back and stare out through the large open window taking up most of the wall beside me. The cool night air flows effortlessly into the room, gently rustling the thin curtains and bringing with it a hint of rain. In the distance, I can hear the soothing sound of the Urubamba River flowing across town. The muted glow from the plaza below is cast up onto the dark mountain towering over it. Only a corner of the night sky is visible from where I lay, the rest covered by the giant rock walls. The stars shyly peek through and give the night sky a soft radiance. The shadowy mountainside feels so close, as though I could reach through the open window and touch the surface.
Since we arrived during the evening rain, we haven’t yet seen the town in bright day light. The shadows of the towering mountains are ominous and mysterious and I can’t wait to see their full beauty in the morning light. When we wake up, we will already be immersed in the awe of the small valley town – the “base camp” of Machu Picchu. We will spend Thanksgiving Day hiking up Machu Picchu Mountain and exploring the ruins of the ancient citadel.
The peace and calm of right now – laying on my back, looking out this window – makes me take a step back and appreciate where life has taken me. I am so thankful that I have these opportunities to travel, meet new people, and experience different cultures. I am so thankful to have such an adventurous family that would travel anywhere with me. And finally, I am so thankful for my health, my body, and my mind.