A Travellerspoint blog

Cusco to Puno

A long bus trip

overcast 19 °C
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Cusco - Puno Bus

What a surprise meet up with Sue and Rob & Alison at the Bus station we are travelling together again. Big news Rob proposed to Alison on Machu Picchu (and she accepted) .. first stop on the bus trip is the Sistine Chapel of the Americas
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A few stops on the way for lunch and ruins .. but nothing out of the ordinary for the trip so far.

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Puno doesn't inspire me much and the hotel looks elegant in an "old world' but maybe the old could be replaced by dated. Thunder & Lightning but not much rain

Posted by Midworlder 05:24 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Machu Picchu

The first big "Highlight Day" of my trip

sunny 26 °C
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Another early start to catch the Machu Picchu train. it took almost an hour to get out on Cusco five or six switch backs to get out of the steep slope out of town. After a shuffle of seats to accomodate a separated couple I ended up with a Japanese lady Sue travelling by herself and Rob & Alison from Vancouver. I would end up being on two other trips with them. Very nice people.

Journey to Machu Picchu uneventful but pleasant.

Upon arriving I promptly left one of my cameras on the train in the confusion but by the time I realised it was already with the officials who returned it to me promptly ... phewwwwww

I had been given instructions by the Travel Service before leaving Cusco that my guide would be Darwin and he would have a green jacket and flag. Sure enough Mr Darwin Comacho was waiting for us as promised.
Apparently he had first visited Machu Picchu in 1965 and had written five books about it, so needless to say we had some great information along the way.
Different areas of the site were used for different purposes, storage, ceremonial, living, industrial etc and the famous stepped terraces had different uses in different area (retaining walls, agricultural, defence etc)

Winding up the dirt road from Aguas Calientes to control area took 20 minutes or so. Then the trek began. Even with the hundreds of visitors swarming around it had a mystical feel to it, after a guided tour I took a trek up to the Sun Gate ... coming back was a bit tough on the knees without shock absorbers.IMG_2428-1.jpgIMG_2497-1.jpgIMG_2581-1.jpg

Night spent in a hotel and next morning was a trek down to the museum .. I decided not to return to Machu Picchu only thing I hadn't done was climb the big mountain for the view down and was a bit concerned that after the previous day I may blow out a knee on descent and lay myself up for a few days, and there was the extra bus & entrance fee expense of course.

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Mucked around Agua Calientes in afternoon before the train left. Found I was sitting next to Sue from the first leg of the trip and, on the way back there was a few interesting moments on the train, the staff put on a fashion show modelling alpaca wear (for sale of course). About an hour out of Cusco we had the option of getting of and for a few extra dollars taking a bus direct which would save 40 minutes or so. As I had the travel service waiting for me to arrive by train I decided to stay on ...
mistake !! I should have noted the unscheduled stop for some repairs around Ollyantaytomba because sure enough 10 inutes later we ground to a halt and eventually the power went off ... we ended up in the dark for a while only 6 English speaking people on this carriage and the staff didn't seem to know what would happen next. After an hour on board we spent 20-30 minutes beside the train waiting for a bus to arrive ... the only benefit was the clear starry Southern Hemisphere sky

Eventually back to the station met up with travel service and a little sleep before the 10 hr Tourist Bus trip to Puno the next day.

Posted by Midworlder 17:16 Archived in Peru Tagged round_the_world Comments (3)

Cusco Day 3

Sacred Valley Tour

sunny 23 °C
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Cuzco - Day 3

Sacred Valley tour by bus

A stop to look down Taray Valley then shopping at the colourful Pisac Market.

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Mid point was Olloyantaytomba, it is another ruins. Olloyantay was one of the last Incan leaders and tomba means storage area , you can see storage sites all round the ruins ... dating from ???? BC Pre-Incan culture of the Kollay Indians (from Bolivia) through to the last Incans

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A stop in some womans home to sample Chica .. look at her guinea pigs and corn collection ! and a colonial church

Another full day and up early tomorrow for the Machu Picchu leg of the journey

Posted by Midworlder 09:38 Archived in Peru Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Cuzco Day 2

Acclimatised

overcast 20 °C
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Day two in Cuzco

Only concrete thing on the agenda is a half day city tour in the afternoon.

Morning was spent catching up with Fotothing looking around and some souvenir shopping - I'm a sucker for T-Shirts ... but this trip I would like to get more Polo shirts .. couldn't find any today though.
The mobile street vendors with postcards prints clothing do get a bit annoying after a while, I think I have managed to tune them out.
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Another cheap pizza for lunch and off on the tour .. the other seven were americans and none had escaped altitude sickness, so much so that three of them didn't even bother to get out the bus on the last three stops, I'll admit the last one was an additional 300 m above Cusco making it 3700m or for you kiwis reading I believe that is the height of Mt Cook. I feel a bit light headed now and again but not that bad certainly not sick or headachey. I would have thought there would be a string of long distance runners come out of the area because of the natural altitude training but apparently not.

The tour started off in side the Cathedral .. which again had stunning architectural features. No photos allowed unfortunately. Interesting thee mix of Chritianity and Peruvian/ Inca culture. All paintings there (and there are hundreds) were collaborated on and painted on by local people, which leads to interesting things like a reproduction of "The Last Supper" having a roast guniea pig as the main meal. Once lined with gold the place must have been stunning .. another religous site next again a mix of Catholisim and Inca where Temple of Stars & Temple of the Thunder are on the same site as Santa Dominigo Monastery.

Then up a hill to another site, originally Cusco was built in the shape of a Jaguar and the Jaguars Head is called Saqsaywaman It must have been stunning ... put together with limestone blocks from a nearby quarry and what remains shows a great patchwork of large stone fitted together perfectly.

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A few other sites including the one at 3700m and then back to the hotel. Dinner and will slip into the bar ina moment the local Cusco football team is playing Flamengo of Brazil (must be some sort of South American championship), it's been played here and the town is buzzing. he waiters were leaving there posts to check the score in the bar when I finished Dinner and should be the last 1/2 hr now.

Posted by Midworlder 19:18 Archived in Peru Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Cuzco

The Heart of the Incan Empire.

sunny 22 °C
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Day 5

Lima to Cusco

Part of the South American leg includes transfers between airport & hotel sure I have paid for it somewhere or other but well worth it ... another hair-raising drive from the hotel to airport with Manuel, I will now always laugh when people complain about Auckland drivers, and this is only my second country, I am sure I will see worse !!

For some reason or other he made it an hour earlier than originally intended but that was better than a rush and gives me some time to resize photos and prepare blog

Not missing home, catching up with Herald & Stuff websites for news ... saw the Warriors won in the weekend so am happy. By the way I am not missing work either !!!

Flight to Cuzco was just over an hour, Three people at the airport to pick me up, a driver, the "transfer" specialist and a young girl learning tourism and English who tagged along.

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3400 m above se level, it is recommended that you have a couple of Coca Teas on arrival .. I cerainly felt a bit odd initially not sure if it was the tea or the altitude

Novotel Cuzco is a stunning hotel ... built around a home originally constructed in the 1500's ..

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Tours star tomorrow I walked to Plaza de Armas the main square watched people and photographed architecture, I believe we go back there on the tour but worth a look at today on its own. .. returned and had a splash up meal and two Premium Chilean beers for just over USD 20

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Posted by Midworlder 19:56 Archived in Peru Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

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