From Cusco to Puno

To travel from Cusco to Puno, in Perú, instead of the usual direct bus, I decided to take the tourist route. This involved several stops along the way and included the services of a guide. There was also a stop for lunch and the journey took almost 10 hours.

 

The first stop was at Andahuaylillas to visit the church of San Pedro. Unfortunately, cameras are not allowed to be used inside. The church has many works of art and is known as the ” Sistine Chapel of Perú”.

 

 

The next stop was Raqchi, a large Inca site. It had been partially destroyed by the invading Spaniards but some of it is still standing.

 

 

The next stop was for lunch, buffet style, which was adequate. I sat at a table occupied by a friendly couple from Argentina, which gave me an opportunity to get advice for my forthcoming visit to their country.

 

Onward and upward to La Raya, at 4335 metres above sea level, the highest part of the journey and an opportunity to take fotos.

 

 

The next stop was at Pukara. One again, in the museum, cameras were not allowed to be used.

 

And finally, on to Puno, on the shore of Lake Titicaca.

 

Puno-PERU

Puno-PERU (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laqo and ?

After visiting Tambomachay and Puka Pukara, two Inca sites a short distance outside of Cusco, I set off in search of the Temple of the Moon. I had been given directions by Jeremy, of Rumi-Tumi Tours but after a couple of hours of looking over the previous sites, I couldn’t remember them very well.

I had a vague idea of the direction I should be going and I knew my position with regard to the road and the location of the city, so I was not going to get lost. I walked for at least 2 hours during which I discovered…

…but no Temple of the Moon. I carried on walking, intrepid explorer style, passing bemused farmers and their families. I was on the point of giving up, when I spotted a group of young men collecting wood. I asked them if they were aware of Inca ruins close by and received directions to a site which was just a few minutes away.

From the “unknown” site, I started back towards the City. It had started thundering and rainfall was imminent. As luck would have it, before long, I stumbled on another site. This one was clearly signposted as Laqo, which as it happens, is the Temple of the Moon. However, by this time, with a 5km walk ahead of me, at least, I decided to take just a few photos and try and get home before the downpour began. I can go back again later for more if I have time.

Tambomachay and Puka Pukara

Tambomachay and Puka Pukara are two Inca sites quite close together, about 8kms out of Cusco,Perú. They are easily reached by bus or as part of a tour.

Tambomachay was a resting place for the Incas, apparently, and has a series of aqueducts to maintain a constant supply of water.

A short walk from Tambomachay, is Puka Pukara, a fortress and/or control post. It´s dual purpose being to defend Cusco and act as an administrative centre.

 

Q’enqo

Another hike up the hill out of Cusco for about 30 minutes and I was at Q’enqo. It was a religious site or temple and was used by the Incas for making sacrifices. The rock formations are much different to what I have become used to seeing recently.

One statue is said to be of a Puma but bears little resemblance, except when the angle of the sunlight is correct. The shadow is supposedly in the form of a puma.

There are tunnels or labyrinths and you can enter the “ritual room” where sacrifices would have been made.

 

Sacsayhuaman

Sacsayhuaman in Cusco, Perú, was a fortress built high on a hill overlooking the city. It was built using blocks weighing up to 200 tons, apparently. The construction was so precise that even without mortar, it was earthquake proof. The reason there is not more of it still standing today is that the Spanish Conquistadors used it as a quarry to source materials for their building projects.

As my accommodation is not far from the site, I decided to take a short cut, climbing to the top of the hill. It was a bit strenuous for an old bloke but worth the effort. There were spectacular views on the way up.

There are various theories about how the Incas were able to construct Sacsayhuaman using such large stones. Also there is the question of where did they get the tools to work with such precision. Some theories even suggest extraterrestrial involvement.

However they managed to get the stones there, it is a testament to the builders, that their handiwork can still be seen today.

When I started my ascent earlier, I was unaware that there was a parade taking place at the Plaza de Armas. The music of the marching bands carried up to the top of the hill and seem to add something to the atmosphere. Maybe, resembling the bringing down of the walls of Jericho.

Machu Picchu

For some years I had the ambition to visit Machu Picchu. Perú´s famous Inca site and possibly the most famous tourist destination in the world. My adventure in South America began more than 3 months ago but, as I was aware of the fact that, to really enjoy it, I needed to improve my fitness level, I delayed the trip until I was sure I felt fully capable .

Fortunately, all of the running and walking around Lima and Chiclayo over the past few months, has paid dividends. After the 15km hike of the day before, I went to bed early, in order to get up at 4 am. I left my hotel at 4.30 and reached the bridge which you have to cross to gain access to Machu Picchu, before 5.00, at which time the gate is opened to allow people in.

The climb to the entrance to Machu Picchu itself is 450 metres, most of it via steep and uneven steps. I set myself a time of somewhere between an hour and eternity and was well pleased to find myself queuing at the entrance with people who had taken the bus up, after only an hour and 15 minutes. My legs were feeling tired but that soon passed as I entered the amazing citadel in the sky that is Machu Picchu.

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DSCN3174The Inca Bridge

DSCN3190From another level.

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DSCN3329The Long and Winding bus route.

DSCN3330The bus and pedestrian bridges.

DSCN3336The Temple of The Condor

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Tambo Colorado

As I stayed in a hotel called Tambo Colorado whilst in Pisco, Perú, it seemed reasonable when it was suggested to me, that I visit the archaeological site after which it is named. Situated about an hour´s drive north of Pisco, Tambo Colorado is said to be the best preserved coastal example of Inca ruins.

The original structures consisted of a palace and accommodation for soldiers and workers.

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DSCN2585There is a small onsite museum.

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DSCN2592There was also a large plaza,

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DSCN2602You can still see some traces of the paint which covered the walls.

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