Saturday, April 29, 2017

Peru - From Cusco to Machu Picchu

Sacred Valley

We took a day trip to the Sacred Valley and surrounding area that was fascinating. The Incas were an industrious people who seemed to be continually building. 

                     These are the ruins of Sacsayhuaman (sounds like sexy woma).

     Meticulously cut rocks to shape enormous walls. The indentations on these rocks were there to place wooden poles into them to assist the workers in positioning the huge rocks.

Why not make it just a little more work and round these huge pieces of stone? They accomplished this by taking cloth and river sand to file down the edges. They probably didn't pay they're workers overtime.

The Incas held sacred three animals: the snake, puma, condor. But they also highly regarded the llama. Here is an example where they created the figure of a llama in their stone wall.  

                                 In this part of the wall, you can see a cuy (Guinea pig).

        At the Awana Kansha farm we saw expert weavers at work on colorful tapestries. 

               There was a display of some of the 2500 varieties of potatoes in Peru.

                               They also had a variety of llamas (I believe there are six).


                                 A grandma taking care of her grand child.

                  Pisac is one of the important archeological Inca sites we visited. 

  Dug into the sides of this mountain were the graves for over 5000 people. Look for the holes.

                                          Hot and oven baked empanadas with cheese.

   The cuy castles (guynea pig) are quite prevalent around Peru. They're also on the menu of  many restaurants. 

                                   The archiiolical site of Ollaantaytambo. 

    The notches on these giant rocks were there to move them in place with wooden timbers.

                            Sharp, straight cuts seemed to be a simple task for the Incans.


This piece of granite apparently was just what the Incas needed but it had a visual crack in it. So they would carve out the key-hole like figure on both ends of the crack and fill it with molten metal to prevent the rock from splitting.

 Beautifully terraced hills were used to fortify the building at the top and were used to grow crops.

                   Most of the children we spotted were irresistible to not photograph.

                     This little cutie wanted to see what she looked like on a camera.

                                          The meat market at Ollantaytambo.


 We arrived at Aguascalientes at night. Early in the morning we queued up for the bus to Machu Picchu.

                                                                    Machu Picchu 

 I took an early morning hike to Wayna Picchu (also spelled Huayna Picchu). Way down below is the Urubamba River.


              It offered a magnificent view of Machu Picchu and the windy road up to it.

             The trail down was unforgiving to those of large girth. I barely squeaked through.



The craftsmanship and engineering of the Inca's work was impressive. The rock extrusions were there to hang things on.  Rocks were positioned with certain key rocks, so that once in place, they formed solid foundations that were not easily destroyed. 

These two walls were angled precisely at 13 degrees, which happens to be the latitude of where Machu Picchu. Needless to say, not only were they proficient at stone work, but also in astronomy.


The Incas were exceptional in blending in existing rock formations to what they wanted to create.




                                                            Train ride back.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Peru - April 2017


After 18 hours and three flights we arrived exhausted in Cusco, Peru. Just walking up a flight of stairs to our hotel took some effort - this city is over 11,100 feet in elevation.

After a three hour nap, we ventured out to the city's main square. Cusco is an old colonial city dating back to the 1500, when the Spanish conquistadors invaded and took it over.

We put on a few miles walking through the city. We managed to find a friendly and busy local hangout for a beer and a late lunch.

In the evening we ate at another local hot spot that was family-run just around the corner from our hotel. It had a pizza oven that kept the cook plenty busy. It had a very cozy atmosphere with great food.