Thursday, 28 October 2010

Snapshots of final days in Peru - Cusco to Puno

You have to keep your wits about you crossing the street in Cusco.

Michael provides scale to the mighty masonary of Sacsayhuaman (pron: sexy woman) - an Inca fortress overlooking Cusco.  It was largely demolished by the Spaniards on their setting up shop here.  Some of the masonry was lugged down to the city to build the new cathedral.  What an OTT extravaganza of holy mothers and bleeding Christs that place is.  No pics unfortunately.

(Editor´s note - it´s taking so long to upload images on this terminal, there might not be much more to come. Michael and I are now actually in Bolivia - since yesterday, in crazy but fascinating La Paz.  Tomorrow we are off for 7 days on a trek around mountains and valleys of the Cordillera Real - culminating on day 7 with a climb up the glacier to the summit of Huayna Potosi, at just over 20,000 feet.   So it looks like we are going to have to abandon pics of the rest of Peru and off Lake Titicaca on the Bolivian side.)


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Past Week in Brief 2 - Machu Picchu

Before the archaeological wonders, a bird.

This gorgeous creature is the Andean Cock of the Rock.  We´ve seen them once before in Ecuador but that involved getting up at 4 am in the morning and climbing half way down a mountainside of mud.  This one flew over our heads and landed in a stream to bathe within 5 mins of us arriving at a small eco-reserve outside Machu Picchu village.  Why doesn´t this lovely place get a mention in the Rough Guide to Peru?  It´s called Los Jardines de Mandor and is 1hour and bit walk from MP village, in the direction of the road to the Inca site.

At the same spot, we also had a pair of Green Jays cavorting in the trees overhead.  No photo I m afraid.  We visited in the early afternoon so the birds were relatively low key.  Would have loved to have visited early next morning but we had to be elsewhere.

The Inca city of Machu Picchu from neighbouring peak called Huayna Picchu - see more of climb involved to get this photo below. 

Michael and our guide Manual beginning to dry out after our 2 hour tour of the site in pouring rain.  Photographer had just removed his rain poncho at his point.

MJC surveys the ruins and Huayna Picchu peak we are about to ascend.  The one to his right.

90 minutes of sweat, fear and vertigo later.

Going down was even more horrible

The Past Week in Brief

An image reflecting our delight at being in Peru.  Cuzco right now - the Inca imperial capital in southern Peru.  Also where we arrived after several cortisol storms in the dead of night at Madrid airport last Wednesday-Thursday.  But enough of that. 

Out of Cuzco last Saturday, our first destination was a fabulous guest house in the Sacred Valley, surrounded by enormous mountains.  Here´s the view from our balcony.

The guest house is called the Green House and is owned and run by Brian from Liverpool and Gabriel from Buenos Aires. We were here 2 nights (it should have been 3, thank you French air traffic strikers).
Highly recommended if you are ever in this part of the world.  In the village of Huaran, the Green House is 90 minutes scenic bus ride NE from Cuzco.

Great food, hot water bottles in the beds, 3 lovely dogs and fantastic walks into the mountains from the door step. 

Note the llamas in the foreground.

After 5 hours walking upwards, we stopped here and trudged back.  We were 15 minutes short of a small community (just over the ridge in the middle distance) where we may have been able to trade biscuits for potatoes.

Next post about Machu Picchu.