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  • SACSAYHUAMAN
  • MACHU PICCHU
  • SACRED VALLEY
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  • TIPON
  • PIKILLACTA
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    Welcome to this page!

    This is a diary of our trip to Peru during the summer 2006. It is also our way of sharing our experience with others, a way of showing to the world, through our photos and charts, the beauty of a country whose historical heritage is as impressive as the diversity of its landscapes. This diary covers the first part of our itinerary. We hope that you have the time to read it, and as you go, it may bring to you dreams of traveling around the world and learning more about other civilizations and places.

    We are from Montreal. Please, write to us if you have any comments. Thank you

    July 3, 2006

    Following the three days of discovering Lima the capital of Peru and reconnecting with our family's heritage, we soon prepared for our flight to the ancient city of the Incan empirempire of the IncasCusco, The plane's departure had been scheduled at 8 am however, upon arriving at the aeroport, we had noticed the flight's delay that would set us back a half an hour on our way. We were flying with Star Peru, a company who strongly ambitions competition with LAN using their 199$ US promotional deal for a return trip from Lima to Cusco in high season. Meanwhile, we took advantage of our extra time to explore the grounds in the Jorge Chavez aeroport. The Building is modern, clean and is fully equipped with large publicity billboards and various shops and boutiques. Guiliano bought himself a Peruvian flag as a souvenir and Guillaume, a comic book called "Condorito" to ease the passing of time. The flight had lasted nearly an hour, offering plenty of time for us to admire the transformation of the vast desert landscapes below, into planes of enormous mountains with their impressive peaks that pierced the clouds. We were also able to observe the routes and villages that appeared from their tucked away and seemingly lost hideaways in an arid terrain of rocks and deep crevices. During the flight, we helped discourage our high altitude induced discomforts with tablets of sorochepill, a universal recommendation.


    A view from the plane on the flight to Cusco

    When we had arrived in Cusco it was 9:38 in the morning. Upon our arrival, Marcos, a friend of the family who was there to greet us warmly and enthusiastically, bade us his hand in guiding us through our discoveries of Cusco and the sacred valley of the Incas. Marcos drove a 4x4 diesel Mitsubishi, where all five of us: Giuliano, Guillame, Yoandra, Jorge, Pierre and Marcos, were accommodated. Marcos drove us downtown where the differences compared to Lima were remarkable, notably was the hue of such a profound blue that tinted a clear and cloudless sky. Most of the houses are garnished with yellow-earth colored tiles. We had noticed the influences in the construction of many colonial Spanish relics mounted on solid stone infrastructures that are surely Incan. The streets that veined through the heart of Cusco are narrow and are paved with stones. When we had arrived to Eureka, a litte hotel that is situated on Chiwanpata street in the San Blas sector of the city, we had been greeted with a drink called a "mate de coca". This drink is an infusion of mate and coca leaves, its offered as a gesture of cordiality and is also a beverage that aids in soothing discomfort due to high altitude. After an hour of rest, we leisurely ventured about into the downtown area. Our hotel was not far from the "Plaza de Armas" where we had discovered two magnificent colonial styled cathedrals: "la Cathedrale" & " la Compania de Jesus". Unfortunately these cathedrals had been constructed from the destruction of a palace from the Incan civilization.

    CUSCO


    The Cathedral of Cusco

    We had continued to wander the charming little streets. Keeping up with the variously changing and very often narrow slopes that personalized the routes is challenging and all while dodging traffic that obviously humored no cordiality for the passing pedestrians. The sidewalks frequently sliver into tightly narrow spaces that obliged us to breech upon the streets to walk. The locals there are friendly and smiley and many people own little commerces that burst with abundant artisanal crafts that they vivdly encourage us to buy. The storekeepers often call out to us in friendly pet names such as "papito"or "papacho" or "senorcito" in hopes to intice buyers to come and spend on their products. We kept an eye open for restaurants, the time for lunch had been drawing near. The prices for a full meal varied between 1.50$ and 6$ (5 & 20 soles). Finally we had encountered "Mamacha" on Waynapata street, a restaurant that offered a 2$ menu which had included a soup named "sopa a la minuta", a splendid dish with rice, fried potatoes and meat "lomo saltado", the meal was accompanied with a "mate de coca". Tres bon!


    Downtown Cusco

    After dining, we had headed in the south-west direction of Cusco toward the central market place of the city. Once again by crossing "la Plaza de Armas", we carried through onto Santa Clara Street. Leading to the entrance of the market, stood an impressively enormous three arched gate with a religious type character placed at it's pinnacle and it had sculptures of condors that skirted around it at its bottom. After several minutes in crossing through this gate, we had emerged facing the church of San Pedro to which the market was at its right. We had entered the market in search of coca leaves. Lined with long stalls that were busy with an abundant array of many kinds of food, the vendors incessantly beckoned us to them to offer us cups of fresh juices. However, there efforts fell upon full bellies, for we had only just finished a lavishly filling meal. Amongst a tapestry of an already explosive display of colors, lay the cornucopia of cereals and grains that offered even more threads of intricate hues including a diverse arrangement of kernels of corns. From these stalls, we had found a bit of everything such as bread, fruits, vegetables, meat & etc., everything that is except for coca. Two young police officers approached us with advise to take care of our cameras that had openly bounced around us. They spoke of that neighborhood being notorious for pickpocketing. They informed of some of the various ways thieves may formalize in attempts to rob us, such as the method where an element of surprise is provoked by tossing water into the face of a tourist or by spitting on them and while that person is occupied by wiping them selves off, the thief would use that distraction as an opportunity to slip away with any desired object. After speaking with them, they lead us to a shop just outside the market place where coca leaves were sold in bulk, the few grams we had purchased had sufficed.


    The San Blas Hillside

    We continued on to visit another market where Pierre, after bargaining, bought himself an alpaca wool shirt for 30 soles. In Peru, all prices are disputable, bargaining is practicaly a normality when shopping, all this of course depending on the humor of the vendor. Marcos insisted that we return to the hotel for a rest. After a solid 2 hours of repose, hunger guided the search for a place to eat on la Plaza de Armas, our new landmark since that noon. In the "el Emperador", a hearty menu for only 15 soles relieved the search. Choosing a table on the balcony facing the Plaza, we had a spectacular view. Musicians came out into the streets to play a kind music that is typical to the Andes. Pierre took a lot of photos. The food was delicious and so was the wine. Jorge checked out earlier to fetch Marcos from the hotel who offered to guid a nocturnal tour of the city. We trekked up a slope next to the Sacsayhuaman and caught a glimpse of the "Cristo Blanco". From the point where we had stood, the sight of Cusco was breathtaking, we distinguished many of the different churches of the city: "la Merced, "San Francisco", "San Pedro", "Belen", "San Cristobal", "Santa Ana", "El Triunfo". In seraching into the sky, the city's glare was soft enough to lend us a more important perspective into the night's stary heavens. We cut through Cusco to return that got us back to the hotel by 10 pm. Cusco nights are sweet and tremble tranquilly with a touch of chill.


    Map of the Surroundings of Cusco

    July 4th 2006

    Breakfast that morning was composed of scrambled eggs, a fruit salad and a mate de coca. At 9am Tito and Guiliana, accompanied by Marcos, arrived form the aeroport. Wtih everyone together, Marcos lead us to the ruins of Sacsayhuman, the great adventure commensed. A multiple entry ticket into the ruins for tourists was required. It cost us 70 soles. The entrance itself into the ruins is astounding. In front of a vast stretch of empty space, three enormous rows of giant stones fashioned a zig-zag pattern on three different levels. Each of these rows is assembled by the composition of gigantic carved stone blocks that, without mortar, have been meticulously stacked to perfection with a striking display of skill. A guide accompanied us expressing his knowledge on the field along the tour.

    SACSAYHUMAN


    In front of the enormously stacked and carved stones of Sacsayhuaman

    Our guide explained to us that Sacsayhuaman was not a fortress such as the Spanish had believed, but rather a sacred site whose name means "satisfied falcon". She had also expressed how the city of Cusco's original name was "Qosqo" and that its design had been built in the image of a puma, its head being Sacsayhuaman (in the north) and Coriancha (in the middle) was placed at the puma's genital area. She had told us that the rows of stones represented the teeth of the puma, whilst the circular shaped tower at the summit of the hilltop represented it's eye. As we climbed towards the summit, we gradually began to learn more and more about the stones from which Sacsayhuamna had been carved. We had learned a lot about the origins of those stones, their shapes, the theories about the methods that had been taken by those ancient peoples of Peru in sculpting those multi angled stones, their techniques for transportation and their poised and attentive assembly. We were very impressed by the almost unimaginable yet extremely fascinating work that went into the craftsmanship of those colossal sculptures.


    Map of Sacsayhuaman

    At the peak, we could see only what had remained of the main tower "Muyucmarca", which is it's foundation. It's body would've been composed of 3 circular walls centered on 4 different levels: 1) a water reservoir 2) food storage 3) weapons stockroom 4) a temple to the Sun God. We observed attentionately the relics that were placed at it's square base, There was "Paucamarca" who was in use for religious functions and ceremonies and "Sullamarca" the garrison. Illustrious was the view of Cusco from the summit . As the tour came to its end, we descended the battlements eastern side that were connected together with stairs and trapezoid shaped door ways. Our guide spoke of the spiritual nature of the animal orientated Incan belief and of its life trilogy: the future, the present and the past that came to be respectively represented by the condor, the puma and the serpent whom all being also associated with the natures of its its environment, signifies the sky, the earth and the under-world.


    The remains of the "Muyucmarca" tower

    Towards the south-eastern direction of the horizon, we had gazed upon the Ausangate crowned cordillera of the Andes that, sitting at 6 373 meters, is the most known peak in all of the Cusco region. We had left Sacsayhuaman to venture forth into the surrounding areas where, with much fortune, we had discovered an esplanade that hosts what had seemed to have been a large circular swimming pool garnished with seats that had been sculpted directly into the stone. Amongst our discoveries, we encountered an obscure and lengthy tunnel that was completely dark and narrow. In order cross through this tunnel we devised the trick to fumble the inner wall with our right hand that guided us along in the right direction. By keeping our left hand well above and in front of us, we were able to tatter along in the darkness; this kept us from bumping our heads on the stalagmite obstacles that hung precariously along the path.


    The "Rumi Punku" door to the east of the complex

    Later on, Marcos lead us to the Incan baths in Tambomachay which is also an archeological site to the water cults. The baths are built with meticulously worked stones at the foot of a mountain. With means of three aqueducts, the bathes are replenished by its underground water source whose exact location is still a mystery. The area is encircled by lolling hilltops that softly offered a tranquil atmosphere to all who visit the baths. An abundant array of artisanal artifacts peppered the rugs that lay about the lane. Unfortunately, their absent merchants kept us only in longing.


    Tambomachay or the Incan Baths

    After discovering the baths, we proceeded towards Quenqo, "The Labyrinth", an Incan sanctuary that had been carved into a huge circular shaped rock. With it stood an Intiwtanan sculpture whose purpose was to measure time along with many other figures that were most likely used in religious ceremonies. Pierced with many tunnels, the rock provides lengthy sanctuaries for the altars that too were probably also used in religious ceremonies. It's semi-circular amphitheater, adjacent to the rock, holds 19 seats that face towards an enormous amorphously natured block whose shadow, that when cast upon the sanctuary by the light of the day of the southern hemisphere's winter solstice (June 21), takes the form of a puma. Very interesting.


    Quenqo's semi-circular patio with it's "puma" block

    We had left towards another archeological site: Puca Pucara, a compound that finds itself at the summit of a hilltop similar to that of Vigie. The name Puca Pucara, in Quecha signifies: The Red Fortress, whom is named as such because of the pinkish colored stones that make up the build of its towers and terraces. At 2 o'clock, we returned to Cusco, but not before stopping to breakfast in a restaurant that offered us a marvelously panoramic view of the city. Marcos had recommended a soup called "Chairo" that in the end, took claim to be our favorite tasting soup.


    A view of Puca Pucara

    At the hotel, we rested well before leaving again to visit the Sun Temple aka the "Coricancha" (golden palisade). The Coricancha is the most sacred Temple in the Incan Empire. It is situated in the Center of Cusco, the heart of the city. Being as such, that building is the mostly ornamented of all the buildings in the city. The walls had been lacquered with gold plates until the Spaniards had stripped them bare during the conquest of Peru. It had also once possessed a central garden whose massive statues had been made all of gold. Today, almost only the attentively carved stones that are the makeshift of the foundation that served as the construction for the Santo Domingo church now remain. Equal are the remains of some few rooms of a trapezoidal architectural design. We had also found a diverse array of terraces that had once belonged to the temple Gods such as: Inti: God of the Sun, Qilla: Goddess of the moon, Illapa: God of thunder, Kuychi: God of the rainbow, these amongst others. Within the colonial district, we had the opportunity to visit the Pinacoteca where the writing boards and sculptures of the "Cusquena" school are situated. Later on we had a visit of the Merced, a church in the style of the baroque period. Adorned with numerous colonial paintings and sculptures, the Merced is an eyeful. With a full day under our sleeves, we went to the "Centro artesanal", a marketplace where we chose out some little souvenirs that had caught our fancy such as: pumas, trilogies, hats, etc., of course never purchased without a good bargain. Marcos then took us to visit some friends where we were able to work out the final details of our tickets to Machu Picchu. Around 9 o'clock that evening, we had headed, once again, back to "la Plaza de Armas" where we had enjoyed a leisured stroll and could marvel in wonder at the character of the lighting from buildings that ambiently hugged the streets. We had found our way into cafe Ayllu, where the adults of our party partook in the sampling of an alcoholized beverage called "ponche de leche" and ate sandwiches, whilst the younger ones opted for the traditional "mate de coca".


    Towards the Pinacoteca aka the Sun Temple

    July 5th, 2006

    That morning was an early start for already at 4:30am, an unexpected breakfast was taken that had been truly appreciated. By 5:20 am Rafael had arrived to escort us to the San Pedro train station, our train departed at 6 am. The departure had been well on schedule. There were many people about the platform and despite the crowd, finding sufficient seating for all of us, had not been a problem. A diesel engine pulled the blue colored old train that brought us to our destination. The tracks are not as nearly as straight to those we were normally accustomed to. The train tottered back and forth rocking us with its uneasy movements that caused it to screech under its own massive weight. It was a chilly morning, likely zero degrees out side. The train must fallow a zig- zag course in order to successfully climb the steep mountain side. Through the window we could see the impoverished districts of the city that the route crossed. The houses are precariously stacked about the hillsides whose access seems to be limited to the long precipitous stair cases that were provided. As we furthered away from Cusco, the terrain changed into cultivated grounds, from whose face we had witnessed the light birth into a glorious morning sun. The terrain is lovely with its many degrees of yellows and browns. We could notice how the school children that walked through the fields in the morning were sparsely dressed; it seems that they must be well accustomed to the dry chilly air. After an hour and a half or so of traveling in a western direction, we were caught by the impressive view of the pyramid of Salcantay, at a height of 6 271 meters, it is the second tallest standing pyramidal shape in the region. Different valleys rolled out one after the other along the way. At 9:45 am, we could begin to observe the transformation of the vegatation as it grew denser and fuller of greens. The train slowed its self to a stop at the 104th kilometer in Ollantaytambo. The voice from the speakers loudly informed us of our location, the "Camino del Inca" or the Incan Trail. It is from this point that the trail that would lead us to Machu Piccu begun. A sign indicates: "Camino Sagrado". We had set off once more for another hour and a half following the sacred "Urubamba" river.


    A view from the train of of "Nevado" in Salcantay

    At 10:35 am, we had arrived at "aguas Calientes", the little village that is the train station. we began to ascend towards Machu Piccu's peak at 2 350 meters above sea level. A bus hosted the ride that brought us to the citadel. At last, it is at 11:30 when we had finally arrived. Machu Picchu! "C'est la plus belle chose que jai jamais vue de ma vie" (It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life), says Guillaume.


    A map of Machu Picchu

    MACHU PICCHU


    The citadel of Machu Picchu

    The view is indescribably superb and it feels as though all the city is in harmony with the nature that surrounds it. We had waited for our guide in front of the entrance who had been greatly delayed by other tourists. To take full advantage of the marvelous time which we had no desire to waste, we had decided to continue without her. Pierre, Tito and Guiliana headed towards the south, whilst Jorge, Yoandra, Guillaume and Giuliano had decided to head towards the North. We covered in our explorations, the different sectors of the citadel. In the South, the agricultural sector spread out with it's long terraces called "andenes" that were spaced out along the hillside equipped with ingenious irrigation systems and various zig -zag designed canals. In the North, The entrance to Huayna Picchu is located along with the sector of the Sacred Rock. It is in the west that is found the Temple of the Sun aka the Incan Palace or the Main Temple or Intihuatana meaning: where the sun is attached.


    A map of the citadel of Machu Picchu

    The citadel's urban sector is located in the east. Within it lay it's fountain district, prisons, industrial zone and the 3 door temple also known as the house of the sun virgins. We carried through the streets on the western side of the citadel while pondering upon the relics that had been left in the city's wake and imagined about the lives that had, once before, existed around them. The walls, also having been built out of perfectly adjusted stones, are similar to the style found in Cusco. The finely polished finishing and craftsmanship, however, of the main temples and houses are visibly more elaborate. At the edge of the cliff on the eastern side, we began to escalate its terraces that displayed the very same balance between nature and architecture that is indistinguishably akin to that of its citadel. We had climbed all the way to its most highest point, Intihuatana. Intihuatana is a sculpted pole within a single granite block whose primary disposition is to indicate the year's solstices as well as measure time. The people believe that by touching this stone, one may be energized by it's spirit, naturally of course, we touched the stone.


    The terraces in front of Intihuatana

    By descending a long staircase that took us to the main square, we ended up on a green compound, a peaceful and serene atmosphere filled the air, and its lawn grazed the contours of the stone build constructions that surrounded it. More towards the north, we came across the sacred rock, a sleek monolith that colonnaded upon a stone pedestal. From its form, a vague likeliness to the venerated puma, the symbol of protection for the Incan people, could be made into guise. The trail that leads towards Huayna Piccu lies behind this monument. There is an obligation to register at the entrance before being able to venture forth onto the trail's 2 hour trek, however there was no obligation required in climbing its little sister hillside found to its right side. Guiliano, Yoandra and Jorge had openly opted for the latter.


    The Sacred Rock

    Whilst the others decided to stay within the citadel, the following minutes that had brought the rest along the precipitously natured trail of that little hill, lead to a colossally sized structure that had been arranged of rock and stone. It arose from the mountain side of the promontory that inhabits the Putucusi aka "The happy mountain" who faces Machu Piccu and the ravine that plunges directly into the Urubamba river. After a quarter or so of an hour, upon reaching the peak, an awing panoramic view of the entire citadel along with its two terraces on its either side was a sublime award.


    A view of the citadel and of its agricultural sector

    The descend is slightly more perilous then its hike. The encompassing beauty however, had distracted us, for we had not soon enough realized the absence of one of our party's members, Guillaume. The group split up into two branches for his search. During this time, we had visited the eastern side where the urban and industrial zones are found. Characterized with the winding and narrow staircases found between its buildings, all in all it pieced together a closely resembling likeliness of a labyrinth. Inspired by the urban landscape, we had once again daydreamed about the kinds of lives that colored the existence of the villagers and workers that gave essence to the those very streets. We had noticed that one of the buildings hosted two bowls carved in stone that had allegedly served as mortars.


    The citadel's industrial zone

    We noticed how the dimensions of the rooms became decreasingly less spacious and how the elaborate details of the architecture dwindled as we neared the cliff. The Urubamba river that meandered against the chasm had been also equally equipped with its own terrasses. The most prevalent detail found in this district is the Condor Stone whose beak and frill is sculpted flatly into the rock.


    The eastern side constructions of the chasm

    Just before perusing the hike up towards the street of the fountains, we had found Guillaume whom had already been informed by Yoandra of our search. The streets there are fashioned in stands and are composed of a series of little basins that lay one after the other whom are connected by stone built canalization structures. Its refreshing quality relieved us of the heavy heat from before. We would've liked to have rested more amongst the ambience of the citadel, but or return train had been due to leave at 3:45 pm.


    The Main Square

    We gathered together while leaving the site and prepared to descend towards "Aguas Calientas" where the adults had enjoyed a refreshing malt beer called "Cuzquena" and the children, an "Inca Kola", a Peruvian soda pop. We were all very tired, but the experience had left us feeling content and happy. Riding in car "E", we had departed from the platfom at 3:55 pm. En route, Pierre and Jorge unsuccessfully attempted to take photographs of one of the most beautiful "nevados", we will just have to keep the memory of its sight in our hearts. The night fell rapidly upon the sky, and for the first time we had observed the "Southern cross" that lay within it. Around 7:30 pm, we had arrived at the Poroy train station where we had disembarked into Rafael's little truck that would take us swiftly to Cusco. By that way, we had saved ourselves over an hour travel by train. In the truck, we had crossed through the sinuous and murky roads the Santa Ana region. Before arriving at the hotel, Rafael had recommended us to the "Sabore del Inca" Restaurant for supper. Once again, we chose "chairo", our favorite soup. That time, it had tasted slightly different; however it was just as yummy. After the meal, we had stopped in an internet cafe to check out e-mails.

    THE SACRED VALLEY


    The Sacred Valley of the Incas

    July 6th 2006

    Marcos arrived at the hotel at 9:45 am. For that day and the next, we had planned to visit and discover the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We begun by departing towards Pisac, the archeological village found to the north of Cusco. At 10:20 am, we had approached Qorao where the view of the Sacred Valley opened in front of us. The landscape's composition was impressive.


    A Map of the Sacred Valley of the Incas

    The valley itself is boarded by brownish colored mountains whose contrasting height bellows above the golden tinted land that sprawled below along the side of the Urubamba River (whose name is known as the Vilconta up to the Huallabamba village). During this time of year, the river is low. Marcos informed us on how the way to and fro from the ruins would take us roughly an hour. At that point he left us on the side of the road and we began our hike up towards the ruins. In search of "Tantana Marka", the Incan cemetery, Guillaume pilgrimed his way on the path that stretched along the edge of a gentle little stream. However, after several minutes of trail blazing, we had decided to turn on our steps because we realized that the tombs were actually located on the opposite facing hillside.

    PISAC


    A view of the"Andenes" of Pisac

    Pisac a sun calendar sculpted in the rock, being an archeological site, is composed of many buildings and sections, featuring its cornucopian array of culture and the Pisaqa including its Sun Temple and Intihuatana. We could see that the skillfully polished and cut stones that make up the construction of its walls, are fashioned with amazing Incan artistry and show clever expertise through its precise masonry. From the top of the ruins, we enjoyed a bird's eye view of the far-reaching beauty that encompassed the Valley and the village of Pisac.


    A map of Pisac's archeological site

    Throughout our journey, we had crossed bridges, tunnels, aqueducts and buildings linked to the terrain as though they were, themselves a part of the mountains. The route was drastically steep at times however; there was always a path that we could follow. Guillaume and Guiliano tirelessly climbed pursuing many various pathways back and forth between the ruins. We had noticed the falcons that circled 'round and above our heads close by. The air was fresh and pure. Finally, had we reached the path that edged the length of terraces that brought us to the meeting point with Marcos.


    A precipitous part of the Q'allaqasa sector in Pisac

    Marcos had seemed to be in a hurry because we still had much ground to cover. Before leaving the site downwards towards Pisac, we had bought ourselves a cup of orange juice for .50 soles from a migrant merchant lady. Pisac accommodates an extensively colorful artisanal market with pottery, weaves, sculptures, etc. unfortunately, we had stayed only for approximately a half of an hour before heading west ward in search of a restaurant.


    Pisac's Perfect Masonry

    Along the way, we had stopped to visit the house that Marcos is building in Lamay. It is a two storied adobe styled home with an enormous terrain that will be a vegetable garden. By 2:45 pm, we had arrived in Calca to delight in a "Chairo" soup in a restaurant called "Hostal Pitsiray". Delicious!


    The "Chairo" soup

    We scurried off with haste towards Ollantaytambo so as not loose any of the day's light because the night falls early there. We crossed the cities of Yucay, Urumbamba and Yanahura.

    OLLANTAYTAMBO


    In front of the fortress of Ollantaytambo

    It was around 4 pm that we found ourselves dwarfed, standing in front of the gigantic arduous terraces of Ollantaytambo. They say that the site had once been a large urban, military and religious complex. To have climbed all those stairs and escalate the terraces called for serious effort, the rhythm quickly slowed our pace. The most upraised position, is adorned with the relics of an incomplete Temple of the Sun whose pink colonnades weighed staggeringly dozens of tons. We stood astounded by the perfectly constructed mammoth structures that towered above us in wonder on how the Incans had mounted all those outrageously heavy blocks to such perplexing heights.


    A Map of Ollantaytambo

    We continued to escalade behind the complex. Tito, Guillame and Guiliano set along the path of a hilly trail, whilst Pierre, Yoandra and Jorge adopted the idea of directly climbing towards the building set at the highest point. With the setting sun, the view of the valley was stunning. On the way back down, Tito and Pierre took the path to the left that sidestepped the mountain and its Incan relics and we retook the stairs.


    The dozens of donned Monoliths

    It was already too late to visit Chincheros. So we obligingly returned to Cusco automatically landing in a restaurant called "trujillano" where we had tasted a medley of dishes form all over the north of Peru. After dinner, Marcos took us to his home to meet his family and to agreeably join him for a digestive.

    TIPON


    The terraces of Tipon Culture

    July 7th 2006

    Benchi, the girl in charge of the hotel's kitchen, prepared a copious meal of scrambled eggs and sausages for us for breakfast. At 8:09 am, we left to go and visit an archeological site by the name of Tipon situated in the south-east area of Cusco. Placed at the opening of a basin, Tipon is basically an ensemble of vast agricultural terraces that have transformed and re-constructed the morphology of the land. They are spaced out categorically from the biggest to the smallest in which we found the main fountain that efficiently delivered the water all through out the terraces.


    The water distribution fountain

    The irrigation system consists on a principal of both vertical and horizontal watering canals. We took use of this sort of staircase built from lain out stones that have been cast strait into the walls to get form one terrace to another. Two of the onsite workers explained to us how the collection of water is recuperated from the mountains and the rain due to the kilometers of stone by stone built canals that have been meticulously worked into a round shape.


    The watering canals and plastered staircases

    We decided to clamber along the hillside situated to the left of us to get a better scope of the scenery offered in Tipon's countryside and refresh in the tranquil nature of its charm. By the side of the road, we had found little red trumpet shaped flowers. Called "Cantutas", they are the national flowers of Peru.


    The "Cantuta" flower

    After a good long walk, we left that magnificent location to head in a southern direction towards some pre-Incan style ruins. "Pikillacta" which translates to "The city of Lice" is the name of that archeological site.

    PIKILLACTA


    A segment of the wall that encircled the city of Pikillacta

    We found some more relics of the buildings that surrounded a broad avenue and tall murals that reached a height of over four meters. Built with chipped stones, the walls are liked together with a mud like clay mortar.


    A Map of the city of Pikillacta

    The streets and homes in this city are parallelly disposed amongst one another. The entire city is surrounded by a grand mural with a large platform on which we may walk to appreciate and acknowledge the quality of the superb work displayed by these pre-colombian peoples.


    The esplanade in front of the warehouse

    Not too far away from Pikillacta, we had stopped in front of an imposing Incan construction of what had surely been a door to the entrance of Cusco.


    The door to the entrance of Cusco near Pikillacta

    We continued our journey southwards until we arrived to the village of Andahuaylilllas where we encountered the famous little San Pedro of Andahuaylillas chapel that had been build by the Jesuits in the XVIth century. Due to its remarkably well conserved frescoes, murals that adorn its interior, the little chapel is also called the Sistine chapel of the Americas. The ceiling is painted with geometrical forms and fine gold flowers. Its alter and alter pieces are made of golden sculpted wood that shapes the elegance of its allure that is quite lovely.


    The decorations at the entrance of the Andahuaylillas chapel

    We had then set out to visit another little interesting village called Huaro. In Huaro's main square, there is also a little church with frescoe on its walls that depicted religious Christian scenes. On them we could make out fishermen, priests, monks, devils and several types of punishments. Above, there is a Baroque style organ that is presumably from the XVIIth century. This church, like so many others in Peru, has been mounted over an Incan ancestral site.


    Inside Huaro's church

    Leaving the church, we crossed the main square to visit a petit museum that consists of a single room inhabited by many examples of stones dimpled with engraved images of cryptographic symbols. The head mistress of the small museum explained the signification of certain symbols and spoke of the mystery that hemmed the origins of those pieces. In the museum there was also the mummy of a young girl of 14 whose cranium had been deformed since her early childhood.


    The church of Huaro

    We left Huaro to backtrack towards Chincheros. Stopping to breakfast in a village called Saylla where we ordered the specialty of the " La Quinta de Don Tomas" Restaurant, a dish of grilled guinea pig and stuffed peppers. It was very tasty, especially the stuffed peppers.


    Nevados Chicon, Sahuisaray and Pitusiray

    Around 3:15 pm, we took route. Just before arriving to Chincheros we stopped to adore the three "Nevados" the Chichon (5 530 m). the Sahuisaray (5 720m) and the Pitusiray (5 750m). Chicheros is a charmingly quaint village constructed on the foundations of an ancient Incan Village.

    CHINCHEROS


    The Esplanade Showing the Incan Foundation and a Colonial Church

    We had noticed the how the walls contrasted against its stone masonry infrastructure. Up we climbed towards the colonial church and the artisanal market place. The village was virtually empty, but on the other side of the main square we pleasantly met a group of children that offered us souvenirs. We were impressed and equally charmed by the effort the ambitious children displayed through their audacity in sales.


    The hike towards the archeological site

    The children were quite resourceful who expressed them selves in various languages, they also were familiarized in current events and about the presidents in almost all of the countries. The children went to school during the day and would have to work in the evenings with their parents who knit crafts on the opposite side of the square. In the end, we bought many souvenirs, again not without a bargain, of course. At the end of our walk, Maridol, a little girl of the age of 9 who carried her little 7 month year old brother on her back, came to thank us for visiting their little village.


    Maridol and her little brother Eliseo

    Between 7:00pm and 8:00 pm, upon the return to Cusco, the Adults decided to go to the "Arte Nativo" theater to watch a dance performance that is typical to that region. We on the other hand, had preferred to stay at the hotel to catch up on some rest. It was roughly at 9:00 pm when we all gathered around the table at "Etapoy" restaurant for what was our last supper in Cusco. We feasted on a dish called "Anticuchos con papas", a large plate of skewered hearts with potatoes. Our return to Lima was scheduled for 9:40 am the next day.

    ART GALLERY

    Golden treasures from the Inca, Mochica and Chimu civilizations
    Cuchillo ceremonial Mona Lisa Vaso ceremonial Senor de Sipan
    Sipan mask Bracelet Moche Sipan mask Kero Chimu
    Ceramics from the Nazca, Chimu and Mochica civilizations
    Vase de la culture Nazca Vase de la culture Nazca Vase de la culture Nazca Vase de la culture Nazca
    Vase de la culture Chimu Vase de la culture Chimu Vase de la culture Chimu Vase de la culture Chimu
    Vase de la culture Mochica Vase de la culture Mochica Vase de la culture Mochica Vase de la culture Mochica
    Vase de la culture Mochica Vase de la culture Mochica Vase de la culture Mochica Vase de la culture Mochica
    Tapestry from the Paracas, Chimu, Huari and Inca civilizations
    Manto de Paracas Manto de Paracas Manto de Paracas Manto de Paracas
    Manto de Chimu Culture Huari Culture Huari Manto Inca

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