We have been in Cusco for over four weeks now, and what do we have to show? Not so much really (except some handy Spanish conjugations), but we do have a few more photos to share. This place has strangely come to feel a like home, and it will be sad to leave. Lena and I will be heading into the mountains tomorrow, towards Machu Picchu… Hopefully we will be back in another week or two with some more stories to share.
Quechua Women Weaving
Our Street, Aktosycuchi
Finally after a month in Cusco, I was able to drag Lena out of bed into the cold night to experience Cusco at night. The moon was full and high and we waited until as late as we possible could so that there were fewer people and cars on the streets to disturb the photos! It’s a really beautiful city sometimes, and it’s strangely come to feel really a bit like home. Our nice apartment, going to school every morning, walking familiar streets in a foreign country, our favorite bakery, the insane San Pedro market, ruins just a few minutes from the house… It’s a really strange city, but it starts to get to you after a while and I think that though we are both excited to move on and see what’s coming next on this journey- We will both also be a little sad to leave this place…
Lena Admiring Tipon
Our very last weekend in Cusco! We had finished our Spanish classes and have been busy preparing for our upcoming journey to Machu Picchu via Salkantay. But our Spanish teacher had organized an excursion to nearby Tipon and convinced us to come along.
Tipon is an ancient Inca site in the Sacred Valley located about 15km from Cusco. It is believed to have been a hold place for upper class members of the society and a center of agricultural importance. There is also a very impressive Intiwarwi (Sun Temple) high above the agricultural terraces. This was one of the most advanced of the Incan cities in the area in terms of engineering, and there is an impressive system of canals and fountains that still function to this day- many hundred of years later.
This past weekend, Lena and I finally ventured out of Cusco for the day for a hike in the surrounding countryside. Within less than 8km of Cusco there are at least seven major Inca ruins in the hills here. There are many of smaller ones as well, unnamed which one sometimes stumbles upon accidentally. This day, we left from San Blas, and hiked up the hill to Q’enko. We had heard that it was possible to enter to the ruins for free, so from the hill we just walked in through the rear of the complex. We had a few minutes to explore, but when we tried to go to the main part of the ruins, we were stopped and asked for our tickets. Of course we didn’t have any, but we just played dumb, and when the guy threatened to call the police we just left. Still our plan was ruined- We couldn’t continue to the other ruins, so we just started walking in the other direction where we heard there were other ruins which could be visited for free. So, from there we walked across the countryside and eventually found the Temple of the Moon and from there followed an ancient Inca road over the valley pass to Puka Puch’ara. By the end of the day when we made it back to Cusco, we had walked more than 18km- Good training for our upcoming trek to Machu Picchu.
Panorama from Templo de la Luna
Well, I admit this blog thing hasn’t been going so well lately… We have been far behind posting since we began. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, we now have to skip all of the United States roadtrip (perhaps to reappear at a later date, since there are a lot of stores to tell about that!) and try to write about some more recent endevors…
Fast forward two months…
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Plaza de Armas at Night
After months of planning and anxious anticipation, we finally arrived in Lima, red-eyed and tired from 18 hours of travel. The first task was to find a cab to take us to Miraflores in the south of the city, where two couchsurfers were hopefully waiting for us. Gringos fresh off the plane (and even worse, speaking almost no Spanish) made us prime targets for all kinds of scams, robberies, and general taking advantage of. We grabbed some cash from the ATM and headed outside to a mob of cabbies yelling and trying to bid for our patronage. I tried haggling a bit with a few of them, but we were so tired there wasn’t too much we could do- If we had another half hour to spare, we might have saved a few soles, but as it was, we were pretty happy just to find a bed that night…