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2007 Peru / Ecuador

Greater Cusco


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Satellie image spanning Machu Picchu and Cusco

Travelling around Cusco
We landed at Cusco airport and went straight to the Royal Inka Hotel. That afternoon we visited the Temple of the Sun. The next day was a day trip to Cusco sites, especially Sacsayhuaman.  Third day: bus to Ollantaytambo, train to Aguas Calientes, Hotel El Presidente, bus to Machu Pichu, and back to Aguas Calientes for the night. Bus up again in the morning. After a second half day at Machu Picchu, bus to Aguas Calientes, train to Ollantaytambo, visit that town, then bus back to Cusco and the Royal Inka. Day trip by bus to Pisac and shopportunities in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Fly back to Lima.

The train travels the beautiful Urubamba river gorge.
Friday, May 11, 2007

Fly to Cusco. Royal Inca Hotel, quaint room up two flights. Supposed to nap to acclimatize to 11000 feet, but Anna dragged us off for a walk. Central plaza--the Plaza de Armas--with two competing Catholic churches (Cathedral and the Jesuit "Church of La Compañía"). The partially restored Incan temple Qoricancha Sun Temple. Spaniards spent three months melting down the gold to send it to Europe. I got some shots of a cool rainbow.

Sky in Cusco is blue. I had forgotten what color the sky is supposed to be. Grass in Cusco is green. I had forgotten that grass is green. All colors are brighter in Cusco.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Treated to a curandero healing ceremony. Kenko ceremonial and burial area. Sacsayhuaman ("sexy woman") storehouse and ceremonial area. HUUGE stones fitted tightly. Lunch at a local family; they served the festive guinnea pig dish. Visit to woolens store: llama, alpaca, and vicuna. S disliked because: $$$ and not Peruvian motifs. Got camera fixed and shoes shined. Visited La Merced Church with gardens and religious mural.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bus to Ollantaytambo. Train from there to Aguas Calientes through Urubamba gorge. (There is no road to Aguas Calientes; one can walk there on the Inca trail.) First bus rest stop was a sales tent overlooking a valley of farms. Land reform led to myriad small farms patchworking the valley. Second bus stop was at a pub. The local form of pub game consists of tossing coin-like slugs at a frog. (Available.) Then the proprietress discussed making a corn beer and served it to us. Intense. The strawberry flavored was better. Train ride was scenic. Hotel El Presidente. Lunch at Indian Felice. Bus ride to Machu Picchu.

For more on this day, see Visiting Machu Picchu.

We were too tired to eat much, so for super we picked up some fruit from a market.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Today's visit to Machu Picchu is in Visiting Machu Picchu.

Lunch at Inca Wasi, where they put a different spectacular vegetable animal on each plate.

Train to Ollantaytambo. Tour that town. Visit a local home: one room, guinnea pigs on floor of kitchen area, Anna fed the guinnea pigs, shrine on wall opposite door, pretty dark, neighbor doing wash and selling exquisite shawls.

The bus stopped and the driver scraped a cochineal bug (white parasite) off a cactus. When Anna squashed it, the the intense cochineal red appeared. The bus stopped again at a pottery factory. On the way back there was a spectacular sunset so the bus stopped to let us take pictures. Our camera ran out of battery, so we couldn't get much.

Back to Cusco and Royal Inca Hotel. Great room. Two double beds. Dinner at fancy restaurant with lots of art.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I should have followed my hunch. Tired from M-P, I looked at the day's schedule and decided to stay at the hotel. But I didn't. And I should have. The day was labelled the "Sacred Valley of the Incas," and we took a bus to that valley. It did have one fabulous ruin on a hill. We had a great hike to the top and a splendid view of the valley. The nearby hillside had hundreds of holes in its cliffside. Each waws a since looted tomb. A pity. At the ruin a flutist played wonderful haunting music. And tried to sell flutes. The other four stops were all Shopportunities mislabeled as educational.

I asked why the valley was sacred and learned that its named derived from the river. It is called the Sacred Diver of the Incas, but no one knows whether the Incas themselves considered it sacred at all. No one really knows if they built settlements on the hilltops as a defensive measure or to preserve the valley for agriculture.

In the evening I took the camera to be fixed and discovered that I just needed better batteries. He also down loaded my pictures to CD. While waiting I got a shoe shine and we visited the Convent. Took several nice flower shots in garden; the museum allowed no pictures.

Copyright 2007, Zweibieren
5 Sep 2007  11:57 PM
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