Overwhelming natural energy

Rosa taking in the beautiful energy of Machu Picchu.
The spectacular Red Valley near Rainbow Mountain.
Chilling out in the snow on Rainbow Mountain.
Rosa with a group of boys dressed in bright indigenous costumes.
Rosa and her guide at the summit of Rainbow Mountain, 5029m.
Rosa making friends with the locals in Cuzco.

Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, The Nazca Lines, Ayuhuasca retreats, ancient history and an abundance of culture . . . just a few of the experiences which make Peru an incredible adventure, says Rosa Briant.

Machu Picchu is a bucket list destination: one of the Seven Wonders of the World and undeniably deserving of such a title.

The 15th century Inca citadel, high up in the Andes mountains, survived the Spanish Conquest because it simply was not discovered during that time — meaning it remained in much better condition than other ancient settlements which the Spanish ruthlessly tore apart. It was only stumbled upon in the early 1900s by an explorer searching for a different “lost city”.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do the Inca Trail — the famous four-day trek from Cuzco to Machu Picchu. Due to restrictions on the number of people allowed on the trail, you have to book around six months in advance. Typical of my travel style, I rocked on up in Cuzco and hoped to be able to book in the next day. Not an option.

So instead I took a train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the bottom of Machu Picchu, and spent just one day exploring the ancient city. It was an experience I will never forget. The fast-changing and unpredictable climate pulled out the perfect morning for me. The sun was shining without a cloud in the sky and, somehow, I picked a day where the usual swarm of up to 5000 visitors was not even close to that. I could even find places where I felt I had the whole of Machu Picchu to myself. So beautiful, so peaceful, and such an overwhelming natural energy, which permeated the very air I was breathing.

After admiring the incredibly-advanced architecture and exploring as far as I could, I sat down, closed my eyes and spent at least an hour soaking and bathing in the magic floating all around me. This had once been a place where deeply-spiritual people lived, worked and practised their ancient rituals. To this day it remains unknown just exactly how the Inca people managed to create such a complex and advanced settlement, 2430m above sea level. Pure magic.

After that I ventured back to Cuzco and planned for what turned out to be the most beautiful hike of my life — Rainbow Mountain, 5029m above sea level at the summit, the highest I have ever been.

The night before I left I met with a Shaman and partook in a traditional ritual. He cleansed my aura and blessed my spirit so that I could walk in harmony with the spirit of the mountain. The Inca people live with a profound belief in the connection of all things . . . that, for example, a pebble on a track is their spiritual brother or sister, and its place there is its home, exactly where it is meant to be. Therefore everything is sacred and should be treated as such.

'It took my words away'

Because of this beautiful way of life it is often difficult for the indigenous people to see waves of tourists flowing through daily, without any consideration for the environment through which they walk.

By receiving the cleansing and blessing ritual from the Shaman, I was then trusted and welcomed by the indigenous people, and by the spirit of Rainbow Mountain. It showed them that I respected their beliefs and their way of life, and that process allowed me to authentically experience the richness and sacrality of the mountain — to be completely present in, and grateful for, each moment of the journey.

You don’t actually start right at the bottom of the mountain for this hike. You take a mini van for around two hours from Cuzco to Rainbow Mountain, and you start walking at a height of around 4800m above sea level.

The hike to the summit takes one to two hours, but that altitude is extremely hard on your body and your mind. By that time I could communicate fairly fluently in Spanish, however the altitude caused all language to be completely jumbled in my mind! When I tried to speak in Spanish only English came out . . . but not even the English translation of what I was trying to say in Spanish: just completely random, nonsense words with no correlation to what I was thinking in my mind.

The exact same thing happened when I then tried to switch to English — I could suddenly only speak random, jumbled, nonsense Spanish words and no one had any idea what was wrong with me. It was crazy.

Some people get dizzy, breathless or develop a headache but, no, I lost my ability to speak coherently and legitimately thought I was losing the plot. However, I was physically unaffected and I summited. I passed people who were all kitted out in their ski gear, walking poles and proper hiking boots. A good number of those people couldn’t make it to the top. I was wearing cowboy boots (not made for climbing mountains), and my only source of warmth in the freezing temperature was my llama fur poncho. But with every step I took I felt at one with the giant beauty under my feet and I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. I made it to the top in under an hour.

For both of these two amazing places, I have found it hard to put into words just how it felt to be there. Hopefully the photos capture more than I have with my story, but the best way you will ever be able to truly experience the magic I refer to is by going there yourself. Peru, in my opinion, is one of the top three countries in Latin America.

Colombia No.1, Peru No.2 and Ecuador No.3. Colombia and Ecuador stories still to come!



Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, The Nazca Lines, Ayuhuasca retreats, ancient history and an abundance of culture . . . just a few of the experiences which make Peru an incredible adventure, says Rosa Briant.

Machu Picchu is a bucket list destination: one of the Seven Wonders of the World and undeniably deserving of such a title.

The 15th century Inca citadel, high up in the Andes mountains, survived the Spanish Conquest because it simply was not discovered during that time — meaning it remained in much better condition than other ancient settlements which the Spanish ruthlessly tore apart. It was only stumbled upon in the early 1900s by an explorer searching for a different “lost city”.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do the Inca Trail — the famous four-day trek from Cuzco to Machu Picchu. Due to restrictions on the number of people allowed on the trail, you have to book around six months in advance. Typical of my travel style, I rocked on up in Cuzco and hoped to be able to book in the next day. Not an option.

So instead I took a train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the bottom of Machu Picchu, and spent just one day exploring the ancient city. It was an experience I will never forget. The fast-changing and unpredictable climate pulled out the perfect morning for me. The sun was shining without a cloud in the sky and, somehow, I picked a day where the usual swarm of up to 5000 visitors was not even close to that. I could even find places where I felt I had the whole of Machu Picchu to myself. So beautiful, so peaceful, and such an overwhelming natural energy, which permeated the very air I was breathing.

After admiring the incredibly-advanced architecture and exploring as far as I could, I sat down, closed my eyes and spent at least an hour soaking and bathing in the magic floating all around me. This had once been a place where deeply-spiritual people lived, worked and practised their ancient rituals. To this day it remains unknown just exactly how the Inca people managed to create such a complex and advanced settlement, 2430m above sea level. Pure magic.

After that I ventured back to Cuzco and planned for what turned out to be the most beautiful hike of my life — Rainbow Mountain, 5029m above sea level at the summit, the highest I have ever been.

The night before I left I met with a Shaman and partook in a traditional ritual. He cleansed my aura and blessed my spirit so that I could walk in harmony with the spirit of the mountain. The Inca people live with a profound belief in the connection of all things . . . that, for example, a pebble on a track is their spiritual brother or sister, and its place there is its home, exactly where it is meant to be. Therefore everything is sacred and should be treated as such.

'It took my words away'

Because of this beautiful way of life it is often difficult for the indigenous people to see waves of tourists flowing through daily, without any consideration for the environment through which they walk.

By receiving the cleansing and blessing ritual from the Shaman, I was then trusted and welcomed by the indigenous people, and by the spirit of Rainbow Mountain. It showed them that I respected their beliefs and their way of life, and that process allowed me to authentically experience the richness and sacrality of the mountain — to be completely present in, and grateful for, each moment of the journey.

You don’t actually start right at the bottom of the mountain for this hike. You take a mini van for around two hours from Cuzco to Rainbow Mountain, and you start walking at a height of around 4800m above sea level.

The hike to the summit takes one to two hours, but that altitude is extremely hard on your body and your mind. By that time I could communicate fairly fluently in Spanish, however the altitude caused all language to be completely jumbled in my mind! When I tried to speak in Spanish only English came out . . . but not even the English translation of what I was trying to say in Spanish: just completely random, nonsense words with no correlation to what I was thinking in my mind.

The exact same thing happened when I then tried to switch to English — I could suddenly only speak random, jumbled, nonsense Spanish words and no one had any idea what was wrong with me. It was crazy.

Some people get dizzy, breathless or develop a headache but, no, I lost my ability to speak coherently and legitimately thought I was losing the plot. However, I was physically unaffected and I summited. I passed people who were all kitted out in their ski gear, walking poles and proper hiking boots. A good number of those people couldn’t make it to the top. I was wearing cowboy boots (not made for climbing mountains), and my only source of warmth in the freezing temperature was my llama fur poncho. But with every step I took I felt at one with the giant beauty under my feet and I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. I made it to the top in under an hour.

For both of these two amazing places, I have found it hard to put into words just how it felt to be there. Hopefully the photos capture more than I have with my story, but the best way you will ever be able to truly experience the magic I refer to is by going there yourself. Peru, in my opinion, is one of the top three countries in Latin America.

Colombia No.1, Peru No.2 and Ecuador No.3. Colombia and Ecuador stories still to come!



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