Finally, our big day arrived . . . the day we were going to visit Machu Picchu! (Or macho pee-chew, as the kids call it). We woke up feeling optimistic for so many reasons. We had all managed to avoid altitude sickness and were acclimating well. We’d had a full night’s sleep at a nice hotel. We’d done a ‘’practice run” at some other ruins and it had gone well. We did a morning prayer and meditation for good attitudes and calm hearts. We at a protein-rich breakfast. So many high hopes. IMG_8260 Well, friends, as you know, pride cometh before a fall, and this day turned out to be a bit of a challenge. For one, the weather forecast did me wrong. I had us dressed for cool, rainy weather and it was blazin’ hot up there. My kids do not do so well in full sun . . . they are like vampires, except that instead of glittering, they just throw tantrums. Three tantrums were thrown before we had even entered the gates to Machu Picchu. Two of them were by children. IMG_8224 After some threats encouragement, the kids recalibrated and we entered the gates to see the beauty of Machu Picchu. I think you can see the awe in Karis’s spider man pose. These kids TOTALLY got it. IMG_8243 Not gonna lie, that first hour was rough. It was crowded and hot and we had to climb eleventy-million steps to get to the prime photo location, only to have the glaring sun cast shadows and squinty faces on every photo. IMG_8246 But beyond the tantrums and the heat . . . the place really was breathtaking. It’s absolutely impossible to do it justice with pictures. The ruins are amazing, of course, by the surrounding mountains dipping up into the clouds – it’s just insanely beautiful. IMG_8265 IMG_8252 IMG_8254 There were a lot of precipices from which children could fall to their death. Having a panic attack every few minutes about that fact kind of killed the zen of the environment for me. IMG_8264 We didn’t get a guide because I didn’t think my kids would have the patience to stop and listen every few feet, which I think was the right decision. I tried my best to act as tour guide but I probably could have prepared a little more. They had a lot of questions that I couldn’t answer. IMG_8269 IMG_8283 These ruins are pretty enormous – it was several hours of walking to reach the perimeter. We took lots of breaks where we could find shade, and fed the kids a steady diet of chocolate-covered espresso beans. IMG_8287 Yeah. This. There was a lot of this. IMG_8304 And this. Lots of locals giving knuckles and taking picture of the black kids. Yeesh. More on that in another post. IMG_8305 In an effort to keep the kids moving, we let each of them choose an area of the ruins that they specifically wanted to visit. India chose looking at the llamas. IMG_8308 Must. Climb. To. Llamas. IMG_8332 Or are those alpacas? I’m not sure of the difference beyond knowing that Jafta thinks alpacas are delicious. IMG_8350 The kids had fun playing hide-and-seek in the ruins. IMG_8353 IMG_8363 This was a less happy moment. I sort of felt the same way. IMG_8368 We finally made it around the whole site, and the kids were in better spirits. IMG_8372 IMG_8381 Near the exit, Karis and India found a platform they deemed a stage and did a little performance from Annie. Yes, Karis is not wearing pants. Yes, it means what you think it means. IMG_8384 Goodbye, Machu Picchu! IMG_8395 IMG_8416 We did it! I’m so glad we did. IMG_8422