This is my one shot of the ruins of Machu Picchu. I took it from my phone, after reaching the Sun Gate in a nearby notch in the mountains. We had already been at the ruins for seven hours, hiking up to the saddle, up to Wayna Picchu, and then cruising around the ruins. I was delerious, chewing coca leaves, cold-sweating, seeing imaginary condors, and giving up hope of stopping Leaf from scaling the crumbling walls that led to treacherous drops. My son really dug these ruins.  Here is a small blurb on why.

Leaf was great on the hikes and snorkelling. It was also fascinating to watch him in Peru as he sorted out colonialism and conquistadors. We did Machu Picchu before hitting Cuzco, which bolstered Leaf’s opinions of the Incas. He loved the astrological elements (perhaps using the Hobbit as his touchstone, for he was familiar with the concepts of light hitting certain spots during certain calendar days), and geez, those damn Incans were masters at this, setting up sun gates on mountains miles away, and having the sunbeams reflect through windows in a small temples, deep in the ruins. And of course there was also the masonry, workmanship as great as the dwarves of middle earth. So this was followed by a visit to the horrible gaudy cathedral in Cuzco and then the city’s not-so-shabby Inca museum, which together told the tale of Inca majesty, followed by invasion, theft, sickness, destruction, and totalitarian ruin. I could see the wheels turn in his Leaf’s head as he watched the Peruvians in the square. “Are these people Incas?” “So now all these Incas speak Spanish?” “The Spanish wouldn’t let them make art anymore?” and in the cathedral, “So this is what happened to the Inca gold?” Etc. Etc.