After a breakfast of hot donuts drenched in hot chocolate sauce, we loaded our bags onto the boat. We had an hour and a half boat ride to Puerto Maldonado. The water is a thick brown and looks like hot chocolate. The river side is green upon green with so many types of trees and plants everything begins to blur together. These boats are probably 40-50 feet long, very shallow, canopied in the middle and can carry 20 of us with ease. So they don't go very fast with a medium sized motor on the back. We have to step across the bows of 4 other boats with our bags, when we dock. We've gotten good at balancing over the past two weeks. We take a tuk tuk to the airport and arrive 3 hours early for our flight, but there is really nothing else to do in Puerto, particularly when you are lugging bags. Of course the plane was delayed so instead of leaving at 12:00, we left at 2:30. Still it is only a half hour flight to Cusco and our arranged pick up was there regardless. We were starving, so after settling into our hotel (arranging for our
very dirty clothes to be laundered) we set out for a meal. We are starting the most luxurious part of our stay in Peru now, with restaurant meals, and 3 star hotels (our own bathroom, hot water, and towels changed daily, wow.). We returned to bed early, with the added bonus of a TV with English channels that had movies.
We have the next morning free to wander and shop, but in the afternoon we join a tour of the city and surrounding ruins. Normally, Jacob and I do not love visiting churches, we've seen too many this year. The cathedral here changed our opinion. Our guide was excellent, explaining the history of Spanish take over and attempted eradication of the Inca culture. You see the local elements in statues and paintings that subversively try to keep the images and beliefs of the Incas in the new religion. There are tons and I'm not exaggerating, of gold and silver plating the alters and solid objects. The style is baroque and there is a lot of incredibly detailed carving in cypress wood everywhere. The cathedral is spectacular. We visited a mainly destroyed temple and then went out of the city
to see the 4 ruins that are within 10 minutes of the city limits. Sacqusaywyman is the largest and most intact. It was a temple to the thunder and lightning deities and you really get a sense of the architectural ingeniousness of the Incas. They moved huge quarried stone in to build walls and buildings. But the major magic was that they didn't use mortar. They carved and polished the rock so that they fit together like lego (actually having depressions and interlocking tabs) with no gaps, not a centimetre. The wall rises above you, 30 feet high; we are told that is only half it's original height because the Spaniards tried to destroy most Inca holy places. The stones are tons of pounds large and they have been fitted together without the smallest gap. They used angles of lean to keep the balance and/ or keystones to secure the walls in place. This is a land of earthquakes but nothing disturbs these feats of engineering. Awesome. We were tired but hungry when we got back so we got wood fired pizza and went to bed.
We met our next tour at 8:30am. We would travel to Pisac, Urubamba,
Ollyantaytambo, and Chinchera. Urubamba was a lunch stop, the rest were massive ruins which we could had explored for a day each rather than an hour. But I still got to share my love for the landscape and overwhelming majesty of the the Inca terraces and building with Jacob even though we were rushed. In Pisac, there is a lot of silver shops and the largest artisan market that I have seen yet. It was all for the best that we had little time, I would have spent too much money. The temple of the sun in Ollyantaytambo was the most impressive ruins. It gave us a good view of the ruins across the valley that I had explored during my stay in Huyro. I was glad to be able to explore this more restored and extensive ruin this time. In Chinchera we went to a woman's cooperative weaving factory. They gave us an explanation of how the lamb, llama, and alpaca wool was spun, cleaned and dyed, as well as woven. They were dressed traditionally and we were served coca tea. Our guide was good at weaving in interesting information about ancient believe, symbols and colonial history all throughout
the day. We collapsed into bed and another movie when we got back to the hotel. It had been a full day.
Good Night and Sweet Dreams.
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