Monday, 22 August 2011

The Search for El Dorado*

                  The Pilgrimage to El Dorado-Macchu Piccu

Every year many men and women set out on the pilgrimage to El Dorado, the Inca Trail to the city of Macchu Piccu in Peru.
This pilgrimage is not set to celebrate some religion, but a secular pilgrimage to celebrate the pursuit of happiness, and the lost city of Macchu Piccu, the legendary El Dorado, the lost city of gold.

The Inca Trail is no walk in the park. Like any pilgrimage, pain and suffering are the order of the day. Altitude sickness can be a factor, it can affect people in different ways, and even the strongest can be brought to their knees.

The weather is not always kind. High in the Andes, where four seasons of weather can occur in one day, it can often making eccentric English weather look timid. It can be much colder than you might expect, and much hotter than you might imagine. Tiredness can also be a factor, and although the trail might explain your physical frailties, it may also expose your mental deficiencies.
The scenery is surprising, different and stunning. Sometimes it will look like any mountain or field, and then you will find yourself in scenery out of the Hobbit. Green lakes and purple skies, white eerie mists and genteel winds that dig into your bones.

The legend of Eldorado-the search for a lost mythical city of gold-has fascinated humans since the time of the Spanish conquistadores. Many tried but never found the magical city. Edgar Allan Poe sums up the frustration of those searching for the lost city in his delightful poem about El Dorado.
The Search for El Dorado

by Edgar Allan Poe
Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old-
This knight so bold-
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow-
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be-
This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied-
"If you seek for Eldorado!"

It is not known how much Poe knew about El Dorado, but he gave some instructive clues in his poem as to its whereabouts.
Towards the end of the pilgrimage, you should aim to arrive before dawn at the entrance to Macchu Picchu, the Gate of the Sun. When you arrive at the Gate of the Sun, the entrance to Eldorado, the lost city of the Incas, and you will see it, if you are patient, when the sun rises covering it in gold. The gold of the sun’s rays, those fleeting, golden arrows that spread happiness and warmth wherever they shine their light.

The mineral gold, the metal, have long since been found and carried away. Or has it? Macchu Picchu took so long to be discovered and hid so many secrets, I would not be surprised if it held a few golden secrets yet.
So here you will discover the temple of the Incas, the lost city that the Incas so successfully hid from the Spanish.

This is the moment of Gold, pure gold. Eldorado is found.
Image from

*This is the third article in the series on The Search for Eldorado

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