We surprised our kids by taking them out of school early so that we could travel to Machu Picchu as a family. We have been there a few times before when the kids were small, but we really felt that if we were going to leave Peru, we needed to get the kids back there to experience part of their heritage of growing up in Peru.
We didn't tell them where we were going. We took a taxi to the airport with our suitcases and when we got up to the check-in counter they saw the flight was going to Cusco. They started guessing, but we have to fly in/out of Cusco when we go to Abancay also, so they were guessing that as well. We had wanted to get resident tickets to MP because it was cheaper, so when we got to Cusco Jeff went to stand in line and the resident tickets were all gone. It ended up working out great for us in the end because we still got cheaper tickets (because we are residents and the 3 youngest kids have Peruvian citizenship) but we got the really nice tourist train! It was gorgeous, we were all excited and ready for a new adventure.
We took the train to Aguas Calientes where we stayed the night to get up in the morning and catch the bus up the mountain. Our hotel was a dive, but we gathered in one room and watched The Martian on Jeff's Mac--all crunched into 2 small beds. Good times.
The next morning we had to get up fairly early because, in order to climb Machu Picchu Mountain, you have to get there during a certain time period--it takes a few hours to climb and they close it mid-morning so they can get everyone off the mountain in the afternoon.
It was like a gazillion steps all going up. Brandon hiked ahead and the rest of us trailed behind. It was drizzly and sometimes slippery, but we kept trudging along. We couldn't even see MP from the trail because it was so fogged in. My sweet Sophia was a rockstar! She just kept going and going, sometimes getting teary-eyed, but oh so brave. People would see her and say, "If she can do it, we can do it!" She was an inspiration to everyone that day.
We got to the top and it started raining! The clouds had opened up a tiny bit so we could catch glimpses here and there of MP, but at the top it was nothing but rain. We had a snack and then headed back down...about half way down the sun started pushing through the clouds and by the time we got to the bottom it was completely clear.
What memories we had with our kids. They spent all their lives living in Peru, minus the one year furlough we took in 2010--Peru is home to them, and MP is part of the heritage of the Incas, the Quechua, and the beautiful people of Peru.