In the fourth installment of "Diary of a Girls Getaway Birthday Bucket List," we find Michaela & Marianna, a talented travel writer and crazy amazing photographer, respectively, intimately introspective in Peru. Are you following along on M & M's magical adventures with #babesinsouthamerica? It's certainly worth reading Diary entry #1, when they made flower crowns on a rooftop in Colombia, Diary #2 where they galloped down to the Galapagos and Diary #3 where they celebrated work/life balance in Equador.
There comes a point in any journey where the magic, fun and adventure of forging new paths through travel unfurls like a flag in the wind and life seems to make more sense in a tangible way. This week's Diary Entry #4 finds M & M in the Peruvian Highlands posted up on land arguably as old as time itself and spirtually connected to the people who inhabit it in a palpabale way. Read on to find out how these two talented ladies discovered magic is real while trekking through a massively stunning Peruvian landscape. And maybe, just maybe, there's something to understanding the higher you trek on this Earth the cloesr you get to something much bigger than yourself.
Heads tilted back and feet in the air, Marianna and I rest in our rooftop sauna at Huacahuasi Lodge. We overlook the mountains as a looming mist rolls in, shrouding the land with an impermeable fog. As we rest beneath nature’s cloud, we dream. We dream of the myths and legends we’ve heard all week, contemplating what life was like here for the ancient Incas. Gazing through the white clouds, we begin to see why the the land is revered as pachamama (mother earth) and the apus (mountains) are gods. In a place so beautiful, we start to believe the same. The foreboding nature ahead looks magical; more powerful than any natural form we’ve ever seen, and we find peace beneath an immense landscape, far more expansive than a single human life can comprehend or explain.
We arrive to the lodge by way of Lares, where Marianna and I hiked along the trail leading to our Mountain Lodges of Peru base camp in the Huacahuasi Valley. Requiring a high mountain pass, the hike weaves through a series of moraines, connecting the alpine mountains to a pristine valley where multiple waterfalls flow and vibrant scenery surrounds. One quality of the Lares Adventure with Mountain Lodges of Peru is that it connects you with local communities, creating a familial bond between the people that live in the land and the travelers that trek through it.
At Huacahuasi Lodge, Marianna and I discover the Andean style that holds a special connotation in the mountains. Women find prestige in designing their own clothes, adorning their thick skirts with designs symbolic of their lineage and family history. This sentiment rings true for hats as well, as the specific concaves and shapes are related to the town in which the women live within the Sacred Valley.
To showcase the culture in the Andes, Marianna and I share an evening of celebration with our new friends at Huacahuasi Lodge. In what feels like the ultimate girls’ night, we get our hair braided, wear traditional skirts of Huacahuasi Valley, and we even sport the typical hats of the region.
Sharing such a memorable moment with the women of Huacahuasi reveals why we travel: We seek to step outside our lives at home and engulf ourselves in the world. We seek to go beyond the surface of a destination, connecting in a more spiritual, meaningful way with the land and people we visit.
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