The road to Machu Picchu


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South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco
March 30th 2019
Published: March 27th 2019
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Our routeOur routeOur route

Lima, Nazca, Arequipa, Colca, Puno now Cusco.
This has certainly been a spectacular 3 months for us. Quito, Galapagos, Selva Amazon Lodge, Cuenca, Barranco/Lima & now 12 days on the road to Nazca and beyond.

The schedule is hectic. Many days start at 5.30am and involve plenty of walking, climbing and scrambling, mostly at altitude.

I can’t say enough good things about Peru Tourism. We looked at their suggested tours then custom built our own 12 day trip. They looked after everything...transportation, transfers, accommodation, guides entrance fees and many of the meals. All the hotels have been top notch, way above what we would normally book. And the cost a very reasonable $5300US for the 2 of us. No, I’m not on their payroll!

3 Panoramas above, 5 second delay between each:

1. The Andes Mountains behind Arequipa. Misti is the perfectly shaped volcano.

2. The floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca.

3. The south end of the magnificent Colca Canyon.

Just one more entry to come: Cusco, The Sacred Valley and finally Machu Picchu. Then home to recover!


Additional photos below
Photos: 30, Displayed: 22


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Huacachina oasisHuacachina oasis
Huacachina oasis

Just outside Ica where we were shamed into taking a wild dune buggy ride (the dunes were enormous!) All passengers wore 4 point seat belts; the driver, nothing!
Nazca overflightNazca overflight
Nazca overflight

Who remembers Chariots of the Gods? 1968, Von Daniken....he tried to explain ancient mysteries as Alien Assisted. Somehow it has always been tucked back in my memory and we couldn’t miss the opportunity to see these strange geoglyphs....can only be appreciated from an overflight.
Overflight routeOverflight route
Overflight route

We flew out of Ica an had 1 hour 10m. In the air. The map shows the lines that we saw but there are over 300 in all, some up to 200m in length.
“The Astronaut ”“The Astronaut ”
“The Astronaut ”

Probably the most famous of them all and the one that got Von Daniken all wound up. He was convinced the figure was wearing a space helmet.
The spiderThe spider
The spider

The mystery remains as to the choice of things to represent by the ancient Nazcans (100BC - 800AD) The figures were created by aligning overturned rocks.
The condorThe condor
The condor

Looks like they hadn’t seen many condors, but it was a very important symbol for most of the pre Columbian civilizations.
The MonkeyThe Monkey
The Monkey

His tail incorporated into the familiar stylized Peru .
Arequipa Arequipa
Arequipa

What a welcome contrast to Lima! Comparable to Cuenca vs. Quito. Here is the inevitable cathedral in the main Plaza (De Armas seems to be the popular choice of name)
This translates as cheese ice cream This translates as cheese ice cream
This translates as cheese ice cream

But in appearance only. A local specialty that our guide wisely advised us to try. How could you resist!
Arequipa Convent Santa CatalinaArequipa Convent Santa Catalina
Arequipa Convent Santa Catalina

A remarkable collection of buildings dating back to C 16 and continuously occupied by Dominican nuns. Here a water sluice where they did/do their laundry.
High AndesHigh Andes
High Andes

Our journey to Cusco took us through the heart of the Andes. In the foreground a herd? of vicuña...close cousins of llama
CamelidsCamelids
Camelids

Alpaca is upper, llama lower. Both native and domesticated for thousands of years. Alpaca valued for fine clothing and meat, llama for warm blanket wool and as a beast of burden.
Inka teaInka tea
Inka tea

Infused with coca leaves and a few other ‘good for you’ ingredients. No tea bags in this place!
High pointHigh point
High point

The highest we’ll get in South America. 4910m or 16 100 feet.
Colca Canyon LodgeColca Canyon Lodge
Colca Canyon Lodge

After a loooong bus ride this was a welcome sight. No city traffic noise here tonight!
Off to the natural spa!Off to the natural spa!
Off to the natural spa!

Time for a relaxing dip in the natural thermal pools by the rushing river.
On the bridgeOn the bridge
On the bridge

After our spa we crossed the bridge to see the condor exhibits, a preview of tomorrow’s potential..
Colca Canyon CondorsColca Canyon Condors
Colca Canyon Condors

We rate this in the top 5 of our experiences on this trip. Here are a juvenile and adult waiting for the right updraft conditions to lift off. Thanks again to Dan, our Amazon Lodge guide for teaching us to use the binoculars as a telephoto lens for the camera on the phone.
El Condor Pasa!El Condor Pasa!
El Condor Pasa!

I never really understood ...”the condor happens” but that is exactly what we experienced! A magnificent condor would suddenly materialize in front of you, silently, gliding effortlessly on the updrafts. That haunting music, written by a Peruvian in 1915 (minus the Simon & Garfunkel lyrics) is still with me.
Colca, the Valley of the CondorColca, the Valley of the Condor
Colca, the Valley of the Condor

If you ever visit Peru don’t miss this place. It is very special.


27th March 2019

Machu Picchu
Hi - Love the name - what a wonderful tour you have taken me on - Your time is near for Home Bound - you are going to have a Melt Down upon your return LOL - Naaaa - will be thinking of where to go to next

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