Back in Peru for a nice month of traveling in Latin America. The last of this awesome 15-month world tour.
We will go through Arequipa, Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, without forgetting to take a long walk on Lake Titicaca.
After a very early morning awakening, a taxi, waiting at Quito airport, a first flight to Lima, 6 hours of waiting in Lima and another flight to Arequipa … we are finally back in Peru for new adventures !
And here we go for a quick visit the beautiful city of Arequipa.
After taking our bus tickets for tomorrow, to go for a treck in the Colca Canyon, we take a taxi to the Plaza de Armas. The driver is very nice and makes us laugh.
He drops us off next to a beautiful church that we decide to visit. The interior is quite clean and is made of white stone. It looks nice.
Then we head to the Plaza de Armas two minutes walk. In its center, there is a beautiful garden and all around buildings with colonial architecture and a beautiful church dating from the nineteenth century. We are approached by a young man had beautiful accent of the Drôme. He offers us tours for the Colca Canyon and other things. He tells us that he sells bus tickets cheaper than what we expected to take, so we follow him in his agency. An hour later we leave with all the buses and excursions that we wanted for a good price.
We continue the visit to go to the viewpoint of Yanahuara. Well, we expected better … we can see the volcanoes between the electric cables but it is not high enough to enjoy the view of the city. We decided to eat in a traditional restaurant that the young man of the agency had advised us. It is really super big and very beautiful (the restaurant!). We see people who are served a huge dish. One of the guests tells us it’s super good. We do not think twice we take this (to share). The dish is coming … it’s way too big! There are all sorts of things (stuffed pepper, salad, marinated meat, potatoes etc …). We will eat until explosion and then we will return to our visits.
On the road we will pass … a creperie … Having no will, I will take a pancake Nutella and Quentin coffee … I have a stomach ache but hey, a pancake is a pancake … I could not resist!
We decide to visit the convent of Santa Catalina. This magnificent convent was built in 1529 and is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has been restored many times following earthquakes. It is very large and very different from the convents we are used to seeing elsewhere. It looks like a mini city inside the city. The nuns who lived there had very large apartments and had their own kitchen with an oven. They were known for making good breads and pastries. The architecture of the convent recalls that of the cities of southern Spain; personally it reminded me a lot of Marrakech riads. It was so nice that we spent two hours visiting each of the rooms in the convent.
After this beautiful visit we strolled in the streets and stumbled upon a beautiful showroom: La casa Tristan del Pozo. This magnificent building, which was going to be abandoned, was bought by the bank, which now uses it as a showroom and offices. After admiring the architecture of the place, the sun setting even earlier than before, we decide to return to finalize our bookings for the week.
Cañon de Colca
- Day 183 – Tuesday 2nd of July 2019 : Colca Canyon
- Day 184 – Wednesday 3rd of July 2019 : First hiking day
- Day 185 – Thursday 4th of July 2019 : Second hiking day
- Day 186 – Friday 5th of July 2019 : Third hiking day
- Day 187 – Saturday 6th of July 2019 : Last hiking day and trip to Lago Titicaca!
After breakfast we take a taxi to the bus terminal of Arequipa. We’ll wait a good hour for the bus to arrive. We see that it will be full of tourists! Women scream in their counters the different destinations they offer. We have the head like a watermelon! They have a little crazy ways …
When the bus arrives one settles and then left for 7h in a bus without air conditioning! We are lucky we are on the right side. We see the volcanoes and the canyon. It’s splendid. When you arrive in the Colca Canyon it’s majestic! We do not regret having taken the time to come! It’s so huge. People come and go from time to time. We will see people dressed in traditional costumes. Their hats are very different from those we have seen so far: they are white and embroidered in many colors. They are not high and rebel backwards. Pretty pretty.
We arrive at Cabanaconde. A lady asks us to follow her because we have to pay the 70 soles of entry in the canyon. After that we arrive at the hotel opposite and then move in. We decide to go buy what to make sandwiches for the next two lunch and then we’ll take a little tour before the sun goes down. On the return we see the smoke of one of the volcanoes that exploded … it’s a bit flipper … but in fact it’s normal! phew!
We return, we redo our bags for the next three days (we will leave business in Cabanaconde) then we will make a half roast chicken in the next door next to go to bed.
Wake up at 6:30 this morning. We close our bags after eating a brioche and at 7am we leave for our first day of hiking. This day is fine; we will only go downhill for 4 hours. We will see beautiful landscapes, the canyon that illuminates with the sunrise, and the green river that runs through it. We can also see the next hikes we will do … for those who climb, we would have preferred not to see them! We will go see geysers too! thank you maps.me! we will be the only ones to see them because no one knows that there is at the edge of the river.
After 4 hours of walking in the sun we arrive at Llahuar lodge, this is the first thing we see because it is perched on the mountain. There are plenty of French. We will settle in the garden while the maid prepares our room and after storing our stuff and put our jerseys we will go to the hot water baths in front of the river. That’s really nice !
After an hour we will eat and seeing the big group come back from the baths we decide to go back. Arriving we see a couple who fuck in one of the baths !! it’s disgusting !!! I tell them to calm down that it’s too disgusting! People are really selfish … they seemed really stupid …. We put ourselves in the last bath of the coup. There is a youngster who wanted to get into the water too … so he comes with us. We discuss in Spanish. At the end he will tell us that he is German. We’ll laugh because he was brown with blue eyes … not the typical profile of German! Other young people arrived meanwhile, French. When the German leaves we go in the middle bath then we start talking with the French. They are super nice. Two other French arrive and join the fun. After three hours anyway, and when we start to overflow the water so many are in the basins, I decided to go out, and Quentin follows me. It is still good outside we hang in the sun and when the night falls we enter our shed and stay until dinner.
The meal will be quite simple. We will share a table with two very nice young Dutch girls. After this meal not hearty at all and super expensive we go to sleep.
Well, 6am, it’s time to get up. Obviously we are not the only ones to get up early! Almost all people are standing up to prepare their belongings and to go up for breakfast. Everyone seems to be going to the same place, except us! We have breakfast on a large table and the two girls of yesterday, Julie and Margot join us. They are really nice (both sisters of Quentin (a gynecologist and the other dermato)). We discuss then it’s time for her to leave. We go down to buckle our bags then we start in the opposite direction of everyone. The type of the hostel tells me that we will have 4h! We thought we had only two hours … not cool … It is 7:30 and the sun begins to warm the mountains. It’s too difficult this morning! We have a big difference in height! Personally I shit! Quentin does not show it, but I blow so much like an ox that my lips are chapped! We will have a big climb for a little less than an hour then it will calm down. We will continue to mountainside. We will have a magnificent view of the canyon. At some point we will arrive at another ghost village and then an inhabited village. We will cross a bridge and we will begin to get lost in the cactus for a few minutes before finding the right path. It is super hot, I do not feel at the top. I want to move faster but I galley too much. From that moment I will be a wound! I will have to stop often because of dizziness and fatigue. The new climb is super hard too.
We will finally arrive at the “village” of Fure three hours later, completely leached! The goal of this stage is to go see a waterfall to three hours of walking back and forth … we keep it for the aprem.
We meet the little family that welcomes us. There are three of them: a couple and a little girl under two years old (I have been lapped now since I was a tata!). They look really nice.
We sit on their terrace facing the canyon. We shit but we do not regret, it’s beautiful! We will play scrabble then in the middle of the second part a guy will arrive and settle down. He is told to warn people but he tells us that they know he is coming … strange … we did not meet anyone on the road. In fact he explains us that he returns from the waterfalls! There we hallucinate! The guy left almost at the same time as us and had time to make the round trip to the waterfalls, before noon! We are shocked! It steals it is not possible. He explains that he is super fast (yeah that’s clear!) And he did everything in 4h … well there I have the balls. We discuss then Natalia, our host comes to serve us lunch. After he leaves and we … we will rest …
Around 14h we decided to go for a walk to see the waterfall. Same, too beautiful. It’s even more impressive than anything we’ve seen before in the canyon. We see the mountains, it’s green, it’s high! Splendid ! We walk for a little over an hour then we arrive at the waterfall. The guy had told us that it was so we find that it is super nice! The waterfall is blocked between two mountainsides super high, it’s great! We will stay a few minutes to look at it then we turn back.
Three hours later we will be back. I may too at improbable places, as if I had done a super hard fitness class at Sonia (our little delusion every summer when the teacher stops her classes, I become her teacher and I make her suffer). We are going to shower … the shower is electric blow it means little trickle of water not very hot. I do not want to shower, but Quentin tells me it was not horrible. I go anyway and reducing the net to a micro fillet of water I get to have hot water! yes, it’s a whole technique! As it is super early we decide to hang out: I do my blog and Quentin read the book that I am supposed to read before giving it to Sonia but I think he will have to tell me the story because because of two pages a day I think I’ll never finish it on time!
Then it’s dinner time. We decided to eat in the hostel. Flemme eating sandwiches and she told us she had alpaca! In addition it is cheaper than yesterday so we take advantage of it; and it’s no worse for them because we are the only guests, almost no one seems to come here, people do not spend enough time in the canyon.
Natalia has prepared a soup with alpaca broth and then she brings us a plaster of pasta well prepared with minced alpaca, and underneath, french fries of course! Quentin devours his dish as if it had been days since he had eaten! I give him my alpaca, it’s too strong as meat for me. We finish the meal with a hot tea that warms us well then we will finish the film Monty Python under the duvet before making a big one. Then sleep.
The night was a little agitated; There was a lot of wind outside so it made the shed of the shed shudder.
We get up early, prepare our bags and then we go to breakfast. Natalia has prepared pancakes! They seem to like that in Peru it is not possible!
After breakfast we leave for our penultimate step. We should have for 3-4 hours of walking.
We go along the mountain, it’s too beautiful, but it’s not super easy. There are portions that go up pretty well! We arrive near a village, there we see tourists leaving from Llahuar and going to either Sangalle as we are in San Juan. The road seems flat but in fact it climbs gently and it feels good in our legs! We see all the paths we have taken since the first day and especially the horrible path that awaits us tomorrow … I’m going to make nightmares I think!
Quentin spotted another way to the oasis. As it is early we continue the road instead of going down. He was right, we will see the most beautiful views of the canyon by extending our route by one hour. Terraces and a kind of cactus amphitheater. We will go to a village to rest, the village of Malata. We will find a small shop to buy food for lunch and tonight (not want to spend a blind for not much like Llahuar). We decided to step forward a bit and eat in front of the viewpoint on the canyon. It’s pretty good!
After our lunch of tomato sandwiches, hard bread and avocado we hit the road again. It is superb ! we see the oasis! We see tourist hotels with their pool but also in the middle of the rock a waterfall with lots of plants around, like a rainforest at a very specific place. It is really awesome. We cross a bridge in the middle of the canyon, the river has a beautiful color and the mountains are yellow. Very nice step.
We arrive at the lodge we booked through the agency in Arequipa. The pool is too beautiful, we will throw in after having the key to the room. On the other hand the staff is not very friendly and we have a room in the middle of the extension work of the lodge …
It will be good 3h in front of the pool to bask the pill. We will be alone for a long time then it will be the massive arrival of French tourists! only French! As they are not very polite they will not speak to them.
The sun goes down faster on this side of the canyon suddenly around 15:30 we get dressed and then chill in front of the pool, pull this time.
After that we will eat in our room and go to bed ultra early. Tomorrow wake up at 3:30 to make the 4h climb … it looks so difficult that I prefer to leave early to avoid missing the bus.
Wake up at 3:45 this morning … I dreamed all night of the climb that awaits us. We take our breakfast in the dark and then we go, in the dark, to the front.
We thought we were the only ones but not at all! We will be tens to get up at dawn! We start to climb, it’s ok … then it’s not going fast enough! It’s horrible ! I go to two by the hour! Quentin moves a little faster but quietly. We are doubled by everyone. I do not know what people do but it works!
The climb is horrible, you can see the sun rising above the volcanoes and mountains is superb. I’m still happy to have done half in the dark because it made me dizzy …
I tell Quentin to go faster and we end up at the end. I galley really too much. I have to walk at 1km / h. At least I do not sweat, must see the good side of things: D
A little less than three hours later I finally arrive at the top. Quentin is waiting for me with a birthday cereal bar. I am at the end of my life but we have not finished yet, it remains 20min before arriving in the square. So I eat my bar while walking and we break! People are all upstairs chatting, we do not really understand why, it’s really cold!
On the way we pass in front of a nice little cafe that seems to be sweet. Quentin wants us to stop there to celebrate my birthday. So it suits me: hot chocolate and chocolate cake! Well the hot chocolate was probably 90% cocoa … but the cake was good. It takes too much time to warm up so we were cold during the climb. But with sugar it’s better: D
After this good breakfast we go to pick up our stuff and we take the opportunity to shower in the hostel. The guy is nice he leaves us (at the same time we paid a blind at night and the deposit). We hurry because we are supposed to have a bus in half an hour … but eventually it will be more in the hour! We are waiting for the bus in the sun. It’s a mini van that takes us with other young people (French … again!). We pass in front of breathtaking landscapes, we will make a photo stop and then it will stop for people to go in terms. Not our thing so we’ll wait for an hour. The driver will stop at a super expensive tourist restaurant but we will refuse to eat and we will ask him to take us to the bus stop because we have a connetion. He is nice he drops us off. We put down our bags and then we will eat in a small restaurant not bad to two not in the meantime.
We have a big bus to go to Puno. He is not bad. We will make stops to see volcanoes and lakes. It’s pretty cool because it allows to take the air, the trip is super long.
We will arrive in Puno around 9 pm completely exhausted. We will go to bed directly when we arrive in our room.
- Day 188 – Sunday 7th of July 2019 : Lago Titicaca
- Day 189 – Monday 8th of July 2019 : Luquina
- Day 190 – Tuesday 9th of July 2019 : Sillustani
- Day 191 – Wednesday 10th of July 2019 : Chill
This morning we go on an excursion on Lake Titicaca. We do not really know what to expect but we read everywhere that the Peruvian side was very touristy and that suddenly it did not seem very authentic.
We are picked up at the hotel and then boarded the boat.
For the little story, you will see written “Titicaca” and “Titikaka”. Titicaca means the gray puma and Titikaka means the stone cougar. We talk about cougar because with great imagination we notice that the lake in the shape of a cougar that eats a rabbit. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world; it is a national park of 36180 hectares at an altitude of 3812m. It separates Peru from Bolivia (we find there the Isla del Sol and the Isla de la Luna). Peru holds most of the lake.
The name of Titicaca makes everyone laugh and people have fun saying that for Peruvians Titi represents Peru and Caca (which means as in French) represents Bolivians. Bolivians will tell you the opposite;)
The boat does not go very fast, it allows to look at the landscape (a little monotonous) or to fall asleep, to choose!
After thirty minutes we arrive at the floating islands of Uros. These are the closest to Puno. They are accessible within 30 minutes by boat from the port. You will see how these families live on floating constructions made with a sort of reed. There are forty or so islands. The inhabitants began to realize these constructions during the conquest by the Spaniards. The locals speak Spanish and Aymara.
We see that people live tourism here! They explain a few things about the lake and their way of life, then we are shown a house and then we are harassed to buy things or do boat tours … honestly it bores us! but we are happy to have seen the buildings because there are many families living here and they are not all carpet merchants.
Two hours later we take the boat and after two hours of sailing comater we arrive on the beautiful island of Taquile.
This island is two hours sailing from Puno. She is very beautiful. “The highest point of the island is 4050 meters above sea level, and its main village is 3950 meters above sea level, with pre-Inca ruins on the highest part of the island. the island, as well as farm terraces on the hillsides. “When the weather is clear we come to see the peaks of some mountains in Bolivia and Isla del Sol. The inhabitants have a culture of their own; we see him very well in their dress. Formerly the island served as a prison during the Spanish colonization and still after.
Once moored you will have to climb high to get to the village. Oddly, I’m going super fast and even faster than everyone else! thank you red blood cells! I would have liked to go as fast yesterday me!
We will see people dressed in traditional clothes still different from what we have seen so far. Men wear hats: one white and red which means they are single and one red embroidered which means they are married.
We will eat trout in a restaurant on the main square. From the terrace we will see Bolivia and terraced crops.
After the meal we go back to the boat. End of the visit of the islands. By cons the boat will deposit us (only two of us) on the peninsula of Luquina. Tonight we sleep in a family to see a little how to live on Lake Titicaca. We are greeted by Gladis, a little woman in a traditional dress that greets us smiling at sunset. All three of us go home. The village is tiny and the houses all face the lake. We see fields with sheep and donkeys.
We arrive at her place. Her husband Armano greets us with a big smile. We are shown our room. It is huge and very pretty with a private bathroom. The little family with three toddlers and Armano’s mother lives with them. We are told that other tourists will arrive and that in 45 minutes we will go to school or walk. None of this will happen … we’ll be bored a bit. After an hour we decide to go out. We see the grandmother who does not tell us anything, Armano who enters the sheep and nothing more. We return to our room super disappointed to have come. We say that if no one speaks to us bin tampis it will make us a moment to rest! Finally Gladis will come to ask us to help her cook the vegetables for the evening meal. We are happy we go for it! There is Gladis, husband and mother of Armano. Since nobody speaks Spanish (they talk to each other in Aymara …) I decided to start the conversation. We learn that here people get married early and have children early.
After peeling the vegetables we are basically told to go back to the room and we will pick us up for the meal … well we go …
An hour later we are picked up but the granny has disappeared, she does not want to dine with us (nice!). So we’ll be all four. Same scenario: I ask the questions and they answer me. They will be asked a bit about how they live, if they come from here etc. Gladis comes from Uros and explains that they had to wait until she was 19 years old to get together. For Armano it’s different, he comes from Luquina and people were bothering him because he was still not fit after his 15 years! It’s funny to see how people live while they are so close to each other.
After this meal we go to bed (it is 20h: D), we have nothing better to do!
We were invited for breakfast at 8am so we get ready and we go. Granny gets off on seeing us … cool. They prepare us some kinds of donuts that we will eat with sugar and jam. There are boiled eggs and hot juices.
Rebelotte, I’m doing the conversation. Armano explains a lot about life here. It’s like being in Europe more than 50 years ago. He explains the different cultures on the lake, the different customs, languages etc. It’s nice, he knows a lot of things. By against it is quickly realized that Gladis knows nothing at all! she never left the lake and does not even know who Picasso is. It’s sad enough, especially since she’s young, she’s only 25 (and he’s 34).
We are asked to leave after breakfast and then we will pick us up later to help.
The first thing we will do (after waiting a long time) will be to take the sheep out. They will have to tie a rope to the dough and bring them to the field where we will attach them to stakes. After this rebelotte activity, we wait in the room and then pick us up. Gladis wants sorted dehydrated potatoes. In case of drought they keep these potatoes for food. She explains that they can keep them for 5 years! We learn many things about her and about life in the Uros. She tells us about her family. It’s nice but it will not last long. We will keep alone for two hours to sort the potatoes and then she tells us to go for a walk for an hour before lunch.
We are going for a walk. The island is pretty, we see the coast is nice. After forty minutes we go back to our hosts. The meal is almost ready. We put the table and the granny breaks. We will be served a huge dish with original vegetables and trout from the lake which is very good. I do it again the conversation and after the meal we will do nothing until departure around 15h.
When I leave, I ask them if I can take a picture of them. This time it is Armano who accompanies us. He speaks to us of many things, he is very cultivated. So that’s when I preferred. This exchange for an hour while waiting for the boat where he told us his life, the lives of people, life on the lake.
The boat arrives, we greet it and we go up, leaving room for two other French. We will have more than an hour by boat before arriving in Puno. We will see the sunset and we will try to convince ourselves that it was a great experience even if we were pretty bored.
Today we will not do anything special until this afternoon when we decide to go on an excursion to the site of Sillustani.
This is a very nice discovery less than an hour from Puno. This is a beautiful pre-Inca archaeological site on the shores of beautiful Lake Umayo.
There are tombs in which there were mummies (which can be seen at the Puno Museum). These tombs, also called Chullpas, were initially built not the Qolla people. These were conquered by the Incas. Instead of destroying these tombs, the Incas continued to build them and built others according to the same model but with their way of doing things. The Qollas built them by assembling small stones found on the shores of the lake with clay, while the Incas assembled large blocks of square stones with water. All have a cylindrical shape and the highest is 12 meters.
From the site you can admire the lake and a large island in its center: the Isla del Sol (not to be confused with the island on Lake Titicaca!). The water is a deep blue night is splendid!
By going on the site the road is also very beautiful. We discover traditional houses. We were lucky to be able to visit one.
After this nice trip we go back and we will not come out before tomorrow.
Well today we would have only eaten and chill out 😀
After a super early wake up and a hearty breakfast, we leave at the station to take the super train that goes to Cusco. We got this luxury for our birthdays.
The waiting room immediately sets the mood, it is large and waiters in costumes offer us tea.
Around 7:30 we board (we had to leave at 7am … Peruvian punctuality!). There are a lot of people. The train is super nice, it’s like in the 30s. We are lucky we have a table for two of us with a window.
The train leaves and there will be a parade of beautiful landscapes for 11 hours. During the trip we will be entitled to snacks, a rather good meal, a snack, and the must, a group of music with a young woman who dance a little all the traditional Peruvian dances.
The trip will be pretty good, it’s more comfortable than the bus!
11 hours later we arrive in Cusco. We take the taxi to Airbnb. The girl who welcomes us is a little speed but nice. The apartment is very cold …
We will not do anything special except washing our tent (because of New Zealand and its restrictions …). As we have eaten all day we will go to bed enough filled! Tomorrow Sophie La Girafe arrives, we can not wait!
- Day 193 – Friday 12th of July 2019 : La Girafe !
- Day 194 – Saturday 13th of July 2019 : Cusco
- Day 95 – Sunday 14th of July 2019 : Vinucunca
What is good about renting an apartment is that you can cook. What is great about renting an apartment that has a kitchen is that you can make pancakes! So, after a little tour to the super market in the corner we prepare our great breakfast with loads of crêpes!
The morning having started well we get ready quietly then after two scrabble games, our Giraffe d’amour, Sophie, finally arrives!
I jump in his arms, I shed some tears, we miss a smack with emotion and Quentin takes over. We are too happy to meet again. She tells us his adventures of the last 24 hours and then we decide to eat in the corner. This afternoon it will be ceviche. The restaurant does not look mine but it was very good. We were able to make Sophie taste three or four specialties in a meal What is good is that it is really not difficult so we can make him taste anything!
After this good meal we decided to go for a walk in town and to take information for the days to come. We get weapons, it’s even more beautiful than in my memories. It is super nice.
We are being solicited by a guy to do the free walking tour we wanted to do tomorrow. We decide to do it right away. We sympathize with a family of brazilians who will tour with us too.
The tour will take us to some very nice places; the first being a chocolate factory: D We will go in several small picturesque streets and lookouts. After this beautiful two hour ride we will go for a walk in the streets that had us more and then we will go get a restaurant for dinner. We will be lucky we will find a good cozy where everything will be very good, too bad that I could not swallow (too much stomach).
After that we will take a taxi and we will go to bed!
After a good breakfast of homemade pancakes we take the taxi to visit the beautiful Cusco. We are dropped on the Place des Armes.
For the record, this is the main square of the city. There are many quite expensive shops, restaurants, banks. But we particularly appreciate the beautiful buildings with colonial architecture with carved wooden balconies, as well as the Capilla del Triunfo (entrance 10 soles) and the iglesia of the Compañía de Jesús (entrance 30 soles! Overpriced!).
The place where the Plaza de Armas of Cusco is located was formerly a swampy area which, at the time of the Incas, was drained and transformed into an administrative, cultural and religious center of the Tahuantinsuyo empire, After the conquest by the Spaniards the old buildings and foundations of the Inca palaces and buildings were covered with more recent buildings. Such as temples and mansions.
This place is of great importance for the inhabitants. Indeed, it is on this place that José Gabriel Condorcanqui Noguera (Tupac Amaru II) was executed on May 18, 1781.
The real name Quechua with what was called the current Plaza de Armas of Cusco, at the time of the Incas, is still unknown. He took the lead of a great Indian rebellion against the Spanish settlers
This square was the administrative, cultural and religious core of the capital Tahuantinsuyo, one of the greatest empires in America and the world. It will be the most important anti-colonial revolt in Spanish America during the eighteenth century. This revolt, nicknamed “Great Rebellion”, took place in the viceroyalty of Peru and in the viceroyalty of Río de la Plata (subdivisions of the Spanish Empire) and was launched on November 4, 1780. He was the first to to claim freedom for all America and to wish to free it from all guardianship. The movement failed and Túpac Amaru II was publicly quartered and beheaded in 1781 in Cuzco. However, he later became a mythical figure in the Peruvian struggle for independence and recognition of indigenous rights, and will be recognized as the founder of Peruvian national identity.
From there we decided to visit the two big churches of the place, we were told that they were free before 10am but lack of luck we were not allowed to enter during the masses … so we decided to to visit the Inka Museum. It’s very interesting. With Sophie, we become engrossed in a group that has a guide who speaks French: D Then we decide to abandon them because he speaks too much!
Two hours later we return to the square and we retry the visit of the churches. We hallucinate prices to visit and suddenly we decide not to be tempted because it is really too expensive for what there is to see!
We decided to visit the beautiful district of San Blas with picturesque streets. They are very small and when cars rush in it must almost stick to the walls! The streets rise and fall in all directions and offer great views of the surrounding mountains and roofs of houses. There are many shops of all kinds, many bobos cafes, restaurants and typical Peruvian markets. We will pass by a pretty place where ladies in traditional outfits will try to make us take pictures with llamas or alpacas for some soles. We will have the chance to see a kind of processions with musicians and dancers in folk costumes. We will follow them for a while before we meet at San Blas market where we will have lunch. It’s a pretty covered food market where people serve cheap and very tasty typical dishes. Sophie will be tempted by the ceviche and Quentin and I will take a dish of the day with a soup full of noodles and vegetables, then two big dishes very delicious. As they have a fruit juice section that makes us very want to stop we take a juice and a fruit salad that we share.
We will resume our visit by running down the alleyways in disorder, choosing a bit to our direction. This will take us to very nice places, including a beautiful view of the whole city. We will enter many courses full of charm. One being located in a luxury hotel; the balconies were solid carved wood, it was really beautiful!
After this beautiful walk we continue our journey to visit the church and convent Santo Domingo; but on our way we see that there is another place next door that could be interesting: Palacio Inka del Kusikancha. It is a place where lived the most remarkable Inca governor of the Tawantinsuyo empire: Pachakuti Inka Yupanti (1430-1478). During the Inca period, this palace was an integral part of the Qurikancha (temple of the Gods universal) and took the sacred function of serving as “home for real mummies of the Incas “. During the colonization and the republic, this temple was occupied by many families of the city. From now on we can only see remains of Incas construction.
After this short visit, we finally arrive at Santo Domingo convent or Q’orikancha (Temple of the Sun). Q’orikancha is the most important Inca monument in the city of Cusco. The church and Spanish convent were built on the ruins of an ancient Inca temple: the temple of the Sun or Q’orikancha. During the earthquake of 1650, most Hispanic walls were destroyed while the Inca walls remained intact. The interior houses many remains of the Inca temple, whose walls were slanted to withstand earthquakes. It is said that up to 4,000 priests lived in its enclosure and the walls were entirely covered with gold leaf, as a representation of the God of the sun. Its breathtaking riches (precious stones, silver and gold) were stolen by the Spanish conquistadors during the conquest of the city in 1534. The Inca temple was replaced by the Santo Domingo Convent, to demonstrate the removal of the ancient Inca cult.
After this nice visit we decided to have a snack in the chocolate shop where we spent yesterday with the walking tour. Big disappointment, it will be expensive for not much in the mouth! We will leave disappointed and tired at the apartment. We will rest before going to dinner in a restaurant a few steps away. Tomorrow we must get up very early to go on an excursion to Vinicuanca.
It is 5am, we leave the apartment to go wait for the combi that should take us to see the beautiful Vinicunca mountain. We do not know who is coming. We search and we have no way to join them … so we start with a little apprehension by saying that we risk being asked a rabbit. It’s the type of walking tour that arranged the exit for a good price but he never transmitted me the contacts of the agency …
We go to the rendezvous point. It’s dark and cold. We wait half an hour then a guy calls us. It’s good we go! Two minutes later he is there and we get into the combi.
We will have two hours before arriving in a paternal whit to have breakfast. We are many but it is nothing compared to what awaits us! The two guides explain how it’s going to be: we still have an hour’s drive and then we will have to walk over 4000m above sea level for over an hour to arrive at the rainbow mount. Once up there will be some time to take pictures and admire the landscape. The girl tells us there will be more than 1000 people!
So after breakfast it’s left for an hour of combi but this time it’s on the track and on a new road with lots of turns. The landscape is super beautiful! We are in a beautiful canyon. We see small hamlets, potato crops, llamas and alpacas. The mountains are very beautiful, we see snow on one of the peaks that is over 6000m.
We finally arrive at the car park … we see tons of combi and thousands of people! There is a horse service too. It is super nice to see these horses and the inhabitants in traditional dress in front of such a landscape!
We start the hike at full speed because we too want to pee! At the end of fifteen minutes one relieves the bladders then one resumes the march at a normal pace. We are lucky it is super nice and we are not cold at all! We take advantage of the landscapes. The colors of the mountains are extraordinary! The path begins to climb and with the altitude I galère. Sophie takes her time too because she is afraid of altitude sickness. Quentin, at his cruising speed and must wait for us from time to time which allows him to take breaks. I let them both go because I start to really galley.
On finit par arriver au bout. On a une vue imprenable sur deux canyons c’est tout simplement à couper le souffle. Derrière nous se dresse la fameuse montagne arc-en-ciel. C’est devenue la seconde attraction la plus visitée du Pérou après le Machu Picchu. Elle culmine à plis de 5200m d’altitude et se situe dans la région de Cusco. Ses différentes teintes sont dues aux minéraux qui la constituent :
le souffre qui donne la couleur jaune,
l’oxyde de ferpermet d’obtenir le rouge
le sulfate de cuivre pour la couleur verte.
De nombreuses populations indigènes vivent dans de petits villages situés dans ces montagnes. Les principaux habitants étant les Quechuas, qui sont les descendants des populations Incas. À l’origine recouverte de neige, Vinicunca a par la suite subi le réchauffement climatique, et dévoilé ses couleurs. Elle a été récemment découverte par un touriste italien ; depuis les habitants de la région ont développé un tourisme de masse autour de cette montagne, nuisant à son environnement. Cependant ce sont les habitants de la région qui gèrent le tourisme et non pas l’Etat. On peut rencontrer de nombreuses espèces dont les lamas, les vigognes, les chevaux et les alpacas. La culture principale est la patate, le Pérou ayant plus de 2000 variétés de patates différentes.
On restera un moment en haut puis commençant à avoir froid, on décide de rebrousser chemin. Deux minutes plus tard on croise la guide qui nous propose d’aller voir la Valle Rojo qui est à côté (façon de parler) car nous avons de l’avance par rapport à d’autres. On est super contents car nous voulions y aller. Du coup on prend le chemin sur la gauche et on commence l’ascension. Pendant une heure ça grimpera encore mais le paysage est trop beau ! On s’étonne de l’absence de bruit. Les milliers de touristes restes sur l’autre montagne ; peu de gens vont de l’autre côté. On arrive au point de vue et là on est émerveillés ! C’est trop trop beau ! La terre est d’un rouge ! On en profite pour faire des photos avant de faire la descente dans un sol très sableux.
On arrive en bas complètement fatigués mais avec des étoiles dans les yeux. On est trop heureux d’avoir eu la chance de pouvoir aller ici.
On reprendra le combi et après un déjeuner copieux on reprendra la route pour Cusco. On arrivera en fin d’après-midi. Quentin étant de nouveau malade on se fera un repas en tête à tête avec Sophie puis on s’endormira à moitié sur un film.