the inca lands

“ama sua, ama llulla, ama quella” – don't steal, don't lie, don't be lazy, the core incan law is as eloquent and fundamental as the landscape of machu picchu

if you are flying above or taking a very high-up vantage point, the sacred city takes a shape of a royal bird – the condor. this is not an accident, the three key animals, the snake, the puma and the condor represent the underworld, the world of men and the upper world. thus machu picchu with its inhabitants, likely consisting of priests and oracles, was the not-known-to-pizarro upper world city, while the empire's capital cuzco marked its power with having been built in the shape of the puma

brave up the inca trail or take an old fashioned wood-panelled train from ollantaytambo to aguas calientes (which we did!) – any route is a masterpiece in itself, and then the final destination leaves you quite speechless

after hanging out with llamas and having stamped our passports with the famous image, we took a couple of hours' walk down back to aguas calientes. my friend javier was looking out for the local species of orchid which he is quite passionate about, and i – for those pumas, more of mixed feelings on my end i would say