Juliette and I decided to walk the last stretch of the Inca trail to arrive at Machu Picchu. This mainly consists of a steep stone path from the town of Aquas Calientes up to the ruins, a climb of over 400 vertical meters that takes around an hour an a half to accomplish. While quite strenuous, it was totally worth it, as the entry to the site is made all the more dramatic by the journey taken there. Once we got onto the site, we took the first path to climb up the farming terraces for the famous high overview of Machu Picchu, and I have to admit to getting a little emotional as we took in this view. It is incredible and very moving. As we climbed higher on the terraces before descending into the site itself, we saw that there was a large production crew and filming taking place on one of the plateaus. There was a large group of dancers in “native” Inca warrior costumes practicing a number. I thought is all seemed quite Bollywood, but that they were probably filming a yogurt commercial or something. We started taking pictures of it as well when a young woman approached us and asked us to stop. She then told us that this was indeed a Bollywood film (called Robot) staring Aishwarya Rai, who was filming a scene to our left! Juliette and I were stunned. As we had been traveling in India together, this coincidence seemed just too incredible, as if the ends of our trip had touched each other from so very far away. How crazy that this Indian film crew should be filming on the very day and in the very place where we were traveling, half-way around the world! We couldn’t help but try to snap at least one more photo of Aishwarya, feeling a little giddy and setting the tone for the rest of our trip around the site. Everything seemed imbued with a greater meaning because of this strange coincidence.
The site itself was very impressive, mostly from an organizational, location, and architectural standpoint. This site shows off in pretty magnificent detail and setting the wonder of the Incas. Throughout our recent explorations of Inca sites, I could not help but compare them to the Romans in a way. Their achievements are incredibly impressive, but mostly in the realms of science and engineering rather than art, although there is great artistry in their techniques. Every function of the city had its own separate zone, whether the farming, religious, housing or other. These people were master planners. And one has to admit that the Andes are quite mystical seeming. It is no wonder that they were worshiped by the people that lived here.