Published: December 21st 2006December 6th 2006
Rolling with the Terrain
The wall was built to flow with the natural curves of the land. It has survived many earthquakes.
We made it to Peru! We´ve figured out by now that pretty much the only way to travel in Peru is at night. Any trip longer that 7 hours usually only goes at night. We made our way easily in the middle of the night through Ecuador to Peru. Spent a night here and there until we got to the central north area, a town called Chachapoya. We stayed in a hotel right on the main plaza- pretty much every main plaza in every town in called "Plaza del Armas." We planned a tour to the ruins of Quelap the next day.
Our day began about 7 in the morning with a 3 hour ride in a taxi winding through the edge of mountains on a small dirt road. Mind you, in many spots the road was only big enough to let our taxi pass, and sometimes the road was flooded out. We´d hold our breath and hope we made it across the mini rivers and muddy messes. One time we even had to get out and push. But our travelling company was lovely- two local guys about our age who were as interested in learning about us and our language
It´s surprising to see anything that makes Stevie look small.
as we were about them. We had a great time, as one of them said "exchanging tongues."
We passed through many small self- sustaining villages, i wondered how many of the people had ever left the littlle town they were born in.
In the distance you could see a great wall way up on top of a mountain. That´s where we were going! We curved in and out of the different mountains until finally we arrived. After walking a bit we came to the ancient town. A great wall had been built protecting the people inside. It is pre-Incan, of the Chachapoyan people. The Incans came and took over a while later, taking the best builders of the Chachapoyans to Macchu Piccu for its construction.
It was so magical- overgrown with trees and epiphytes(my favorite-plants that grow on other plants),a place that remained largely a mystery to this day. The round stone structures were the homes of families, the square structures were thought to be holy and sacraficial places. There were watch towers with people buried in the very structures, a pit many, many meters into the ground consisting of human and animal bones thought to be sacrifices. There was
a main entrance, a back entrance, and a secret entrance (cool, huh?) It was just amazing to learn about how they lived, their signs of nobility, and of burials in the difficult to access cliffs so that the dead may overlook water, be in the earth, and see the sky.
At the end we were taken to the other side our guide called "Disney Land." They were reproducing the village there, but not exactly in the traditional way. My hope is that they have a small part representing what it would have looked like then, and keep the remaining ruins as they are- magical.
It was a fabulous experience I highly reccomend to anyone travelling in Peru.
There are more photos below