So I guess the last time I updated, I had posted some pics of my first day in Cusco. The next day I did a walking tour of the city and the surrounding countryside. I ended up walking up the side of a cliff to Sacsayhuaman, which is this giant fortress on the side of a steep hill/cliff, which in itself is enough to make people pause before attacking, let alone doing it in 30-40 lbs of armor and hauling a 10lb steel sword up the hill. The incas are famous for their “dry stone” method, where they would carve the boulders in create interlocking pieces, without the use of cement, mortar or any other “glue”. Archeologists suggest that this design is why these walls are still standing hundreds of years later despite being in an earthquake prone region. Many of the stones are refidgerator to u-haul van sized stones. Walked through a field, found a rocky outcropping, got some great views of the city, and kept walking to the temple of the moon (I later found out) for a total of about 1000 vertical feet. On the way back down (Still walking) I may have twisted my ankle slightly, so I decided to put off Machu Picchu for a day (mon instead of sunday) and let it rest. I ran into a girl from Paris, who was volunteer teaching in some village up in the mountains, what she told me was that the children were only given food for lunch 3 days a week since the school didn’t have the money to feed them 5 days a week. She was spending her own money to feed the kids the other two days a week. Perhaps thats why half the population is under 5 feet here… Either way it’s a sad one. Ran into a guy in Cusco who was from Cork, Ireland, who had met a lady from Peru and had been living in Cusco with her for the past two years. He seems to really like Peru.
Today has been an odd one. Due to changing my plans I wasn’t able to get a train ride to aguas calientes (Machu Picchu base camp) so I took a bus to the city of Urubamba, and got a transfer to the city of Ollantallu (however it’s spelt). Ollanta is a dusty city that looks like a set from Sergio Leon’s “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”. I was waiting for clint eastwood to pop out from around a corner and start shooting at someone. The city sits on the side of a river in the valley, with a bunch of streams routed through the middle of the city. It’s very strange, but it’s effective and it works. I’ll try and post a video later. I checked and I have about 4gb of video, or 40 clips at about 35 seconds each so hopefully I should be able to create something out of that. Anyways these streams are everywhere in the town, and from the town’s two main squares, you can just look up and see HUGE inca ruins in every direction. I wish i’d known more about this place, I would have devoted two days to the place; there’s a lot to see. Ran into a guy who is working as a part time tour guide for churches that come to help feed the poorer villages here in Peru, he’s living up in a village a day’s walk from Ollanta. He’s originally from South Africa.
Anyways thats about it. I pick up a train to Machu Picchu tomorrow around 4:45am and arrive around 6:30 (Machu Picchu can only be reached by train). Cleared my camera’s memory card and recharged the battery, I should be good to go. I think at this point I have a 50/50 chance of getting one of the 400 tickets to clime Wannu Picchu (the big mountain in the background of all the pics) that are usually gone by 7am. Being a Monday I’m hoping less people show up extra early like me for the ticket. We’ll see.
heres another pic of me from lima. hooray. lima is very uninspiring, but plaza la arma was pretty decent.
On top of the world! Cusco below me. About a quarter the way up to saysuhuamana.
Bussing from Cusco to Ollanta. Most of the scenery looked like this, with a bunch of adobe brick buildings along the way. Passed through perhaps 15 small villages. I remember asking my dad what adobe was, and his response was “huts made out of mud bricks; about half the world’s population lives in them”. I didn’t believe him at the time, but up here above the tree line there’s not a whole lot of materials with which to build from.
I cheated a little here; the camera’s color profile makes everything look washed out, so I played with the contrast here. You can see some really well preserved inca ruins over my shoulder there. Below is another adobe hut. Out of the pic, and to the right about 90 degrees is some really well preserved stuff as well.
Anyways thats about it for tonight.