Cusco and Macchu Picchu

Trip Start Feb 08, 2006
Trip End Jul 19, 2006

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Monday, February 27, 2006

We arrived in Cusco Feb 20. We were supposed to stay one more day in Puno because there is a temple near there that I´d like to see, but there was an upcoming transport strike and it seemed like the right time to go. The strike only lasted one day though. (Che Guevara flags everywhere - I was a big hit having a copy of the motorcycle diaries on me.) We took a tour bus since the train doesn´t run on Tuesdays and saw a beautiful colonial church along the way. Cusco is a beautiful town but the most fun was continuing to join in on the Carnival festivities. In Cusco the thing is water instead of the foam that we found in Puno. We also discovered the commercial center accidentally and were very happy, everything that you can buy on the Plaza is so much cheaper there and there are food stalls with everything you could want to eat.

We left Cusco on Sunday the 26th early and went up to Aguas Calientes (Macchu Picchu Pueblo) on the train. Continued with the carnival activities. In AG they use water with colored powders in them and foam too. We were wearing our last dry clothes and it´s so humid there that things don´t drying, ah well. I´m was also getting down to my last soles and the only bank in town was closed, which is always interesting too.

We did Macchu Picchu and it doesn´t disappoint. Not much to say about it except that it is even more striking than all the photos you´ve ever seen. James decided to climb the mountain while Erin and I went into the ruins. We´ve reconfirmed that we aren´t tour people. Instead we walked around at our own pace and sat still for a long time in a place with amazing history. We made sure to do enough reading ahead of time that we knew what we were looking at for the most part and then we just let ourselves get lost.

Tuesday we moved on to a small town called Ollataytambo and meant to stay two nights and then go to Pisac for the market last Thursday. Somehow we ended up in Ollan for almost a week. We went horseback riding to some rarely visited ruins that apparently are in the shape of a Puma if you look at them from above. It was a five hour trip up very steep mountains over rocks. We nearly lost Erin, but she can tell you about that when we get home. Let´s just put it this way, horses are not goats. :) The next day we went whitewater rafting down the Urubamba river. That night Erin was sick again (seems to be a weekly thing). Friday, James went mountain biking and he had his own lessons in gravity. The kids hung out with a boy who pretty much runs the hostel where we stayed. They did a puzzle, watched Charlie´s Angels, and played soccer. Oh, also found out that the ¨Cuy¨we were eating is actually heart. Yummy!

Last night we finally said goodbye and made it to Pisac for the big market today. Did way too much shopping. Now we have to carry all of this stuff. Now we´re back in Cusco to arrange a jungle trip. From there we don´t really know, but probably Arequipa. Plans have changed a lot since we got here.

Hope all´s well.
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