By FRED MARSHALL
Now in its seventh year, the Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery has begun its popular summer series, “Vicarious Vacations.” Each Saturday in August at 11:00 AM, visitors to the Loeb Auditorium in Old Alabama Town can take a vacation by proxy, listening to guests discuss their vacations around the world, including tips for avoiding problems while in route, and at the locations themselves. Saturday the 4th, Rich and Christy Anderson discussed their anniversary trip to Peru’s Machu Picchu.
Rich works in the Attorney General’s Office in Montgomery, and Christy works in historical preservation with the City of Montgomery.
Their photographs and commentary gave the audience of 40 or so a clear picture of what the traveler could expect as concerns hotel accommodations, food and drink, and local attractions along their route to Machu Picchu. “We call our adventure plains, trains, and automobiles,” said Rich in explaining the various modes of transportation he and Christy took to their final destination–everything from modern jets to “taxis,” which were not much more than motor scooters with a top and sides added to them. After a short stay in Lima, they flew to Cusco, which was a bit more “rustic” than Lima. A few of those present Saturday had been to Machu Picchu and to them, the Anderson’s presentation was like taking the trip again.
For those who hadn’t been, Rich and Christy’s comments were a tutorial, explaining the little things about such a trip that can make or break it. At that point, Christy gave a brief history of the site, saying that Machu Picchu stands at nearly 8,000 feet high in the Andes and was built from about 1450 to 1460 A.D. The site is now known as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, having been included on that list in 2007. The site represents the excellent technological skill and productivity of the Inca Empire in its glory days, especially their stone-working, terracing, and water management abilities. Chirsty added that at 8,000 feet, the air is thinner than at sea level, so those planning a trip there should work-out on a tread-mill etc. to get in shape.
Rich seconded that statement, saying that the only way to get around on site is to walk, or more properly climb, because much of the site is virtually straight up and down. Rich also answered a question from the audience, saying that Machu Picchu is believed to have been built by the Inca King, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the 9th ruler of the Inca and that the Spanish never actually found the city. Overall, Rich and Christy say that much history surrounding the city remains a mystery.
So the Anderson’s anniversary trip to Machu Picchu was both entertaining and educational for those in attendance. Should you be planning such a trip, Rich and Christy strongly advise contacting a travel agent who specializes in your destination. Doing so can certainly lessen the chance of your encountering problems when you are a long way from home. And be prepared to take some vaccinations…Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Rabies, etc.
Upcoming dates in the Vicarious Vacations series include August 11th…A Cruise to the Orkney Islands and Iceland by Ann and Steve Linder, August 18th…World War I Battlefields by Jim Hodgson and Steve Brickley, and August 25th…Hiking Mt. Rainier’s Wonderland Trail by McDowell Crook.