Thursday, June 2, 2016

Peru Star Watching Guide

Having been born and bred in cities that are always covered with lights and sometimes with a polluted sky, I have never had a chance to see a night sky full of stars, which has been my dream for quite a while. Fortunately, our weekend trips always ended up in small villages located between mountains, which prevented excessive lights from eclipsing the starlight. If you happen to have the same dream of watching stars, this is the guide for you to best enjoy the starry nights during your time in Peru J

Ideal location 1: Hotel Roof, Pisac
What you need: Camera (optional), your wide-open eyes (necessary), a warm coat (most necessary)
Recommendation: The night in Pisac would be more than worth it if you take the chance to look up and enjoy the starry sky. The hotel we stayed in had an open roof where the owners kept their potatoes and corns. There was also a table and several chairs that allowed me to settle myself for my first starwatching experience. Looking at the stars shining above the mountains and around the moon, I couldn’t help but feel the moment of tranquility and the beauty of nature. The only thing that I regretted was not bringing a thicker coat because the roof was a little bit chilly.
Pisac Starry night

Ideal Location 2: the central Plaza, Ollantaytambo
What you need: Camera (optional), an accidental electricity breakdown throughout the town (by chance), a torch (necessary)
Recommendation: One night, everything suddenly turned pitch black while we were in the middle of some intense card game. However, instead of regarding it as an occasion where a horror movie came true, I took this accident as an opportunity to watch the stars again. Indeed, when we rushed out of our hotel with torchlight at hand, the sky presented us with way more and way brighter stars. On its dark blue background, you could possibly see some constellation and maybe even a remote galaxy. The excitement of witnessing the starry sky definitely outweighed the worry for the electricity. However, the electricity soon went back on and the starry sky disappeared before I could take a closer look.
The only picture from Ollantaytambo

Ideal Location 3: A window seat on the bus back to hotel from the Cuzco train station
What you need: An exhausted body but not mind, a speaker playing Taylor Swift Songs 
Recommendation: After a three-and-a-half hour train ride from Machu Picchu following a long morning starting from 4 am, I was more than exhausted when I got on to the bus. However, the moment I leaned my head on the bus window (Go Window Seat!), I saw the starry sky again. The bus was running fast, music playing loud, but the stars followed us as if they were seeing us off. As soon as the Cuzco city lights took over, the stars again hid their presence.

Though city lights have their own glory, the light of stars gives us yet another kind of peaceful beauty. Whenever I look at the stars, I can’t stop thinking about how many years their light has traveled through the universe. Some of the starlight might have started their journey while the Inca Empire was still on this land but now has just arrived in time for me to see. Whenever I think of this, I feel my connection with history and feel happy to be living in this world.

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