Last morning in Cusco was Tuesday.
Photos of our hotel in Cusco.
We meant to do the Inca museum but we ended up at the chocolate museum. They definitely have the cleanest and best loos we have met on this trip! Not to mention the chocolates!
Flights.... Cusco to Lima
Lima to Santiago
Santiago to Auckland.
Tip... Book window and isle seats (this way we usually get all 3 seats). We did today on the 13 hour flight.
Now Thursday 8am and waiting for last leg to Christchurch.
Somehow we didn't get to see Wednesday this week.
End of a great trip👍😀
28 August 2017
From the bus.....
The inca site on the hill called 'Sexy woman' ....Sacsayhuaman, sounds like that anyway. This is a hillside fortress and means satisfied falcon. Lots of space and lots of ruins. Largest stones are 8.5m high and weigh 361 tons. Every inca citizen spent a few months a year on public works. They moved stones with log sleds and levers.
The quechua (local original Peruvian) man giving thanks with cocoa leaves in his native language so we are not sure what exactly was going on.
The llama and lamb dressed with local lady for photos
Kite flying is very popular with local kids
Statue of Christ.
Lovely breakfast in hotel and then out sightseeing in Cusco.
We did the alpaca factory, the natural history museum and then the chocolate shop before noon and an open top bus tour in the afternoon.
The puma, condor and some of the thousands of potato varieties in the photos.
We organised the bus tour ourselves and it wasn't quite as expected but we got to see lots more without having to use our legs. It just took hours more as we kept getting off to experience cultural activities!
Other photos....The electricity hanging from buildings and the scaffolding waiting for the next storey to go up sometime in the distant future. The balconies are quaint, the traditionally dressed and the school children.
27 August 2017
Group Lunch in Aguas Calientes.
Adrian and Hilda, the Intrepid tour organiser.
Walk around town before catching train.
Condor, puma and snake represent the sky, the earth and underneath ground.
Railway Track used for moving furniture and building materials and goes through the Main Street.
Great 2 hour train ride alongside Urubamba river back to Ollantaytambo and then bus to Cusco arriving fairly exhausted at 8.30 ish.
Last day of hike starts at 3.30am with coca tea wake up and then a wait to get through the control gates which open at 5.30am. 200 passes are allocated per day for the Inca trail. We joined the line and had a packed breakfast while we waited.
We walked for about 2 hours to the sun gate, Inti Punku, and saw the sun rise through the gate. The cloud cleared a bit to see Machu Picchu below at 2,450m.
Joseph and Adrian posed for a photo. As well... A group photo.
We had a good tour of Machu Picchu with Joseph and learnt a lot of the history (and forgot a lot of it too!)
Last photo shows a look back at the sun gate we had come through at dawn.
From Machu Picchu you can do additional climbs to Guayana Picchu or Cerro Machu Picchu.... (Have to book well in advance to do these). We gave them a miss!
Finally took the bus down a very windy road to Aquas Calientes at 2,050 m for lunch.
26 August 2017
Day 3 hike was the longest at 16 km to reach Winayhuayna at 3,700m.
Cloud forest with orchids, bromeliads and ferns.
Saw some hummingbirds and finches. Missed the parrots and the Andean cock of the rock.... (Just read about them being around).
We had a climb first to 3,980 m over Runkuracey pass and then lots of stops at archeological sites on the descent...or rather the Andean flats as the guides call the undulating bits.
Ruins of Phuyupatamarka, a ceremonial site.
Also Winayhuayna Wayna, ceremonial and agricultural ruins.
Rio Urumbamba flows far below.
Porters give us hot water bowls to wash feet etc. Also hot water for morning washes.
25 August 2017
Day 2 hiking 11km with height gain of 1200 m over 2 mountain passes....gets us to the highest peak Warmiwanusca known as dead woman's pass at 4,200m.
(Not because anyone died but profile of mountain peaks looks like a woman!).
Ruin of Runkurakay round food storehouse at lookout point and later after pass Sayaqmarka 3,650m views over Vilcabamba range. This was a resting spot on journey to Mach Picchu.
The altitude tablets worked plus the morning wake up call of coca leaf tea. Feel like we knocked the bugger off!
We then descended to 3,650 m to camp in Pacaymayo valley. Views of Humantay 5,850m and Salcantay 6,271m from campsite.
Great views and relatively nice loos with one for M and one for F and each has a separate bucket for No 1 and No 2. Sorry ... Too much information here!
24 August 2017
We took the bus to the start of the Inca trail at Piscacucho at the 82km mark.The porters are carrying our 25 kg bags and we carry just day packs. Our guides are Joseph and Adrian. They call us their 'nice family'!
We walked to our first ruin Patallacta (meaning city above the terraces in Quechua language).
Total walking about 12 km uphill to our camp site at Wayllabamba at 3,100m above sea level. Wonderful views of snow capped Veronica Peak, Huayluro valley, terraces and Inca sites.
Five star meal on arrival! Can't believe the food is the best we have had but it is!
The porters line up to clap us in as we arrive at the campsite.
23 August 2017
We continued by bus through the Sacred Valley and arrived at our hotel in Ollantaytambo to find llama grazing in the garden. Time to explore the town and then group dinner. Cake to celebrate Serena's 40th birthday.
Note: dogs are everywhere and friendly. Never see one being taken for a walk as they roam around wherever they want to go.
Took the bus to Ollantaytambo but stopped at a local community for work experience and lunch on the way. Near Chinchero. This was a highlight.... Musical welcome, some (not us) chose a Peruvian speciality, Guinea pig for lunch. Picture included.
We all got dressed up and then we helped dig over a field for planting potatoes. There are over 3,800 varieties of potatoes in Peru and heaps of maize/corn varieties.
They showed us how to spin and dye llama wool and weave cloth. They got cochineal from squashing an insect that feeds on the giant cactus. They then used other plant extracts to mix and make the other colours.
Peru is a big produced worldwide for cochineal.
They grow everything / import nothing!
22 August 2017
Cusco (means navel of the world).
Tuesday 22nd August
Short flight from Lima to Cusco, 3,450 metres above sea level and population of 350,000.
Centre of Inca civilisation and home to Emperor Pachacutec who started it all in 15th century. The mural shows the story and the grey wall around the Spanish style church is an original in a wall.
Simon Bolivar was very important in the formation of Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuela and all stations south.
The poorer people live up the surrounding hills. Greater distance to walk as not many roads up there.
Very keen on football as shown by donkey statue. One of the traditional dressed ladies has a baby alpaca in her back pack.
Our history tour ended at the chocolate factory. We had to try so many types of chocolate, chocolate jams and chocolate liqueurs, and drinking chocolate. Wonderful.
On to Ollantaytambo tomorrow so blog blackout until 28th August when we will have finished the Inca trail and get back to Cusco.
Wish us luck!
21 August 2017
Monday 21st Aug.
Arrived at hotel la Castellana, Miraflores at 8am.
Traffic is busy to say the least. Population around 10 million. There are 16 of us... 3 Australian, 4 NZ (including us), 2 Canadians and 7 from UK.
Reuben, our intrepid guide took us on a city centre tour. We all went by public bus. Very good system with dedicated bus lanes and enclosed stops like in Quito. One price to go as far as you like.
Vultures and pigeons in the square amidst some spectacular buildings including the presidential palace and a rude fountain where the male Spanish lions were on the backs of the female American dragons (both squirting water).....all in photos.
Police with riot shields and stray dogs They feed the dogs and In return dogs bark when intruders are around.
We went into the monastery (last photo) and spent time in the catacombs viewing REAL skulls and femurs from the 25,000 bodies that were buried there.
No pictures allowed unfortunately.