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.
- Day 196 – Monday 15th of July 2019 : Sonia!
- Day 197 – Tuesday 16th of July 2019 : Fiesta In Pisac
- Day 198 – Wednesday 17th of July 2019 : Ruins
After a beautiful morning gland at the apartment we take our bags to drop them in the hotel where we will stay for our last days in Cusco in about ten days. We try to go light the next few days.
It is hard to find a taxi that wants to get us there for a decent price … Finally a guy will take us for a third of what others asked. It’s too bad to actually go because of the one-way roads … it’s in the heights and we did not pay too much attention. So as we had a little pity the driver will give him some more soles. Our bag is super heavy and we must climb steps! We’re struggling but we get there. We drop him off and we decide to walk to the rendezvous point with Sonia and her parents (Pascale & Philippe). It is super nice, we discover new streets.
We arrive at Place des Armes and there we see lots of children dressed in traditional costumes who make dances. It’s super pretty. We look for a moment then we take the road again. I’m too excited to see Sonia! We arrive at the square. Sophie goes shopping and then we wait in front of the church with Quentin. Half an hour later she is here !!!! I’m so happy I run to jump in his arms! Finally I see my Soso!
After this reunion we will eat at the market to make them taste the local specialties. Sonia’s parents discover South America It’s funny. His dad had a hard time being tempted by typical meals for fear of chopping things; his mom is a little less difficult. We will all eat in the same little corner of the market very good food and then we will walk in the streets. We will show them two luxury hotels with magnificent courtyards that we had discovered the day before.
At the end of two hours they will be left on Cusco; Sophie Quentin and I will take the bus to Pisac, our second destination in the Sacred Valley.
We go back to our apartment and then take a taxi to the bus stop. We will be lucky the combi will arrive five minutes after our arrival.
We will only put one hour and the view will be very beautiful!
Once in Pisac we go to our hostel before dropping Sophie to his. The girl is not nice at all! she asks us for more money because of the feast of the virgin! We tell him that this is out of the question because we made our reservation months ago on booking. She is not friendly at all. The place looks like a big squat of hippies! A guy comes in and asks us if it’s okay, we tell him no and we explain him. The girl returns from her discussion with her always kind leader, asks us to pay illico and brings us to our room. I think this is one of the worst places we have stayed. The shower and the toilets are dirty. We put our things a little disgusted. Then we bring Sophie to her palace … cutiosité I ask the price of the room telling me that I will manage to convince Quentin to change if I ask my parents to offer me one or two nights as a birthday present … 45USD … well…too bad… we leave sad in our squat of hippies!
We arrive, it’s creepy. We go to brush our teeth, the bathroom is always dirty and in addition there is no water! I put down my toothbrush and ask a hippie who eats in the kitchen what’s this mess? (I ask him kindly: D). He is also passing by and tells me that in Pisac they cut the water (he thinks that’s it) because the level of the riveris low. Okay … so if you arrive too late bin you stink with your mouth and you cannot poop … cool! and suddenly if everyone wants and no one flushes … yuck … He is nice he gives me water he had kept for the evening so we can brush our teeth. I go back and tell Quentin. Well, bin we will do like that, tomorrow will be another day!
This morning I wake up in a bad mood, I slept badly, there was music all night and it seemed even stronger because our room overlooks the street …
I’m going to shower … the toilets … the hunt is on the way again but it seems like people do not know the chug brush! I hate selfish people! I go in the shower, the curtain stinks of death and the water is lukewarm … my arm touches the curtain it disgusts me … I leave the shower, I go in the room and when Quentin wakes up I tell him that we do not will not fizzle here!
He wakes up quietly and there I hear Italian and American talk super loud in the hallway! It’s not even 8am! Dirty selfish! I go out and ask them to buckle up! She drops a little but not too tone. They come out and of course, as they are so stupid they start smoking in front of our window and talk super loud! How can we be so stupid? Finally … it’s the last straw that broke the camel’s back. I call Mom and ask her if for my birthday we could stay with girls. It is okay so we put everything away and after breakfast with the hippies and their conversations with hippies bobos we break! Meanwhile Sophie asked if they still had a room in his hotel for us and luckily they had one left! Too happy we go there and we find Sophie who laughs seeing us coming to her hotel J
The people at this hotel are super nice. Our room is ready and she is too beautiful! We have hot water !!! Even in the evening !! The girl laughs when I ask her. We settle in and we find Sophie. We go to the main square where Sonia and her parents will meet us an hour later. At 11am there is a parade of dancers in their traditional costumes. We were told that today would be the best day.
There are many people on the square and stands with typical dishes including grilled pork. We go for a walk and then we go to get a good spot near the church. People are starting to arrive. After an hour Sonia and her parents meet us and the party begins: parade of people in costumes, procession etc. That’s great ! We will watch the show for a good two hours then we will go for a walk in the streets. There are beautiful ladies weaving in the streets.
We see a nice place where you can eat roast pig, roasted polish, and guinea pig! Sonia hallucine’s parents are funny. We find a table then we are told that in fact we can not eat it because it’s for the market … so we decide to go eat things in the main square. Sonia’s parents are not really excited about the dishes, but we do. So all four go with Sonia and Sophie and Quentin and I will go to feast with typical dishes in the square with locals. We will meet again a little later to see the second part of the festival: the traditional dances on the place of arms. Once again it is very lively and very pretty to see. We will spend a great time then we will go for a walk to the craft market before taking a hot chocolate and cakes excellent in a small pastry found by chance. After this super taste very late we buy some food for lunch tomorrow afternoon then we go back to rest before going to eat in a restaurant in the square. After dinner we will all go to bed vibrating with music outside.
Today we will visit Inca ruins which is a few steps from the place of arms.
The ruins of Pisac are divided into 4 groups: Pisaqa, Intihuatana, Q’Allaqasa and Kinchiracay.
At the time Inca, the site had 3 functions:
– Military: he defended the southern entrance of the Sacred Valley.
– Religious: the terraces above the citadel represent the wing of a partridge.
– Agricultural: graves of Inca villagers found looted on arrival of archaeologists
On the site you will find the national flower of Peru la cantuta which is a shrub going from 2 to 3 meters high, also called flower of the Inca.
We all meet for breakfast which is excellent and super rich! After that a taxi takes us to the heights of the city so that we start the hike from above which will allow us to have only the descent. We planned all day to walk but the driver tells us that in two hours it is folded! We will take our time! The scenery is breathtaking on the road, we are super excited. The sky is overcast but it’s still beautiful. We arrive at the top there are a lot of tourists. The first site is superb! We start our photo shoot of each other and ruins. We hear guides speaking in French so we listen. We see a path that goes up and seems to bring us to a beautiful point of view. So we make our little climb and indeed, it’s beautiful! We have a breathtaking view of the first two sites, the valley and the agricultural terraces that are gigantic! In the past, people had to be self-sufficient, which is why the terraces are so numerous and large. We will stay a moment at the top to look at the landscape and to take photos before descending to discover the site. It is really well preserved we really take our time. The archaeological site is really big. We see that many tourists stay on the first two ruins and do not venture outside, which is a shame because it is huge and really incredible! Instead of two hours as the driver told us we will spend 6 hours in the site to discover everything and admire the landscapes? We will marvel at everything and the landscape.
After this wonderful walk we will return to the city. We will go to the market with Sonia and her mother; Sophie and Philippe will return to the hotel. We will make purchases that I will try to negotiate as best as I can. Sonia and her mom being too happy they tell us that they want to offer us cakes in the pastry yesterday … too good! We go after the shopping and we will have beer for the drink that we will take on the terrace of the hotel. The cakes are really too good! We’ll have a good time laughing together before going to shower and rest a little. After a good hour we will eat and then have a big sleep!
Urubamba & Ollantaytambo
- Day 199 – Thursday 18th of July 2019 : Urubamba
- Day 200 – Friday 19th of July 2019 : Maras & Moray
- Day 201 – Saturday 20th of July 2019 : Ollantaytambo
- Day 202 – Sunday 21st of July 2019 : Ruins
- Day 203 – Monday 22nd of July 2019 : Puerta del sol
Quentin had a bad night, he was sick and we think it was because of his gourd that had to be washed badly from Ecuador … So I’m preparing myself in silence and I’ll meet the others at breakfast. Once again we enjoy! After breakfast Sonia and her parents go for a walk in the city, Sophie goes to her room and I bring her breakfast to Quentin thinking that it would please him … but hey the poor do not really want to eat again.
We prepare ourselves quietly then we will leave our stuff at the reception. We give a call to our most faithful followers (who will recognize;)) Then we go with everyone in town to visit a botanical garden.
There is still the fiesta in the city. We arrive at the garden, the little gentleman who is the owner is very discreet and gives us only the names of plants, suddenly I ask him every time if it is eaten or used for something. There are many who seem to be used to getting screwed … interesting … after I may have understood what I wanted to understand: D We do a little tour, it’s not really interesting; what will be interesting is its collection of potatoes and roots! he has hundreds it’s funny. He also had very beautiful cactus (I love cacti) and some before more than 60 years.
After this little flower stop we go with the girls to eat for lunch (vegetables and roast chicken). We’ll eat quietly at the hotel in their kitchen while Quentin takes a nap in the sun on a bench.
After this good meal we go to Urubamba, our new base. Urubamba is a city not very pretty located at 2800m above sea level. People do not stop there especially but it is a good point of falls to visit the saltworks (that we will do tomorrow). We take a small van. None of us have a seat so we will work our abs for at least thirty minutes before we can sit. After an hour of travel we arrive in Urubamba. The others come down before us because we do not have the same accommodation this time, dad and mom can not pay us super hotels every day …: D
We walk along the road, it’s dusty and not very pretty, we look for housing and then I remember seeing a photo of the facade on booking. We ring and the tall blonde welcomes us … I’ll wait before asking where she comes from;) Her home has a beautiful view of the mountain. It’s very simple, very Peruvian, but cozy. It suits us very well! There will be only French tonight! We undo our things and get some rest and then I go find the others in their hotel while Quentin will rest in the room. I meet Petra, our host, we discuss a little and she tells me she is Dutch! it was unlikely that it was Peruvian … I walk along the road and I take streets a little less ugly to find them. Their hotel is much newer than ours but I prefer ours which is more cozy. We have tea and plan our day tomorrow. The girls would like to go to a ceramic shop so we go there. Urubamba is really ugly but you can see lots of little cafes and restaurants that look nice. We arrive at the shop, we make us watch a video a little naze on the lives of people who hold the shop. After that we are told that there are five rooms for shopping … it’s really not my style so I decide to wait for them in the garden; there are two macaws super beautiful and full of big dogs, it will take me well half an hour before Philippe joins me because he is tired of waiting for girls. After their shopping we decide to go for a coffee (and take a cake …) in a cafe recommended by Petra. We will not be disappointed; it’s super cute and hot chocolate, a treat! finally a real chocolate !! After that I’ll let them dine alone, I’m not hungry (I also ate a big chocolate nun at noon …) and I would like to stay with Quentin who is not at the top. I take a little cart in the square and after making them all a big kiss I go find Quentin who slept all the afternoon. We will watch an episode before going to bed.
This morning we wake up quietly, and we will have breakfast in the kitchen where Petra is waiting for us. She prepared homemade jams! We will feast. We eat and discuss with her. We. Take the opportunity to ask him why there are so many hippies in the sacred valley. She laughs and tells us that it’s because the thinking hippies that there are good waves here, they come to do musicology cures, acupuncture etc … in short, hippies what! It makes us laugh anyway. We finish getting ready and we find the others at the bus terminal. We’ll wait for a suit for Maras for twenty minutes. The landscapes are superb; we can see the Andes with some of its snow-capped peaks. The driver offers to drop us at Moray (our other destination). We accept without paying attention that we will get ripped off the tariff … in short … We arrive in Moray to see the archaeological site.
What is interesting about this site is that it is a former agricultural research center designed by the Incas, located at over 3500 meters above sea level. To resume wikipedia: “At first glance, the site is presented as a main amphitheater and two secondary, smaller in the vicinity. They consist of several terraces arranged in a concentric circle. In fact, it was an Inca agricultural research center where cultural experiments were practiced.
The position of the terraces creates a series of microclimates: the temperature is higher in the center but then decreases depending on the distance of each terrace. This allows to simulate about twenty different microclimates. It is thought that Moray was used in particular to predict agricultural yields, not only in the Sacred Valley but also in other parts of the Inca Empire. It also seems that in Moray the Incas tried to acclimate to the local conditions of the exotic plants.
The terraces consist of retaining walls, fertile soil and a complex irrigation system to grow more than 250 species of plants. The word moray is linked to the cornfield, which was called Aymoray, or in May, which is also called Aymoray, but also to the dehydrated potato that is Moraya or Moray.
Each level is accessible by a system of stairs whose steps are directly embedded in the walls. Each level is about 2 m high.
A pond located at the top of the site retained the water needed for crops. Irrigation canals brought water on each level through ditches dug into the stone.
An average temperature difference of 5 ° C was observed, whereas this difference is only 0.5 ° C on comparable height differences in the same place. ”
After our discovery of this interesting site, we decide to walk to the Salines de Maras.
The salines of Maras are the main attraction of the city. They are located at more than 3000 meters of altitude. These are salinas that are maintained by the inhabitants of the city. The salt that is harvested is sold in the village and elsewhere, either by the families directly or by the community (it harvests all the salt and shares the recipe). The different shades are due to the progress of the sedimentation in each basin. Everything is harvested by hand by the inhabitants themselves. From now on it is no longer possible to walk around the site but there are some points of view.
The road is super beautiful. We are lucky we will receive only a few drops of rain on the face that towards the end of the ride to the center of the village where we will have lunch in a small restaurant that does not look mine. The city is cute. We explore the streets before beginning the descent of an hour to the saltworks. Here again the landscape is superb: we can see the snow-capped peaks, the valley, the mountain range. After an hour we will arrive at a point of view: the saline in the middle of the valley. We continue down to the entrance and there the girl asks us 10 soles! This is not included in our boleto turistico unfortunately. So I’ll be the only one to visit the site; I came for it so I did not want to miss it. I’m happy because even if you can not walk in the salt is still very beautiful. I go up the coast to get to the point of view where others are waiting for me. We rest a little (me especially) then we go back everything we went down. An hour later we arrive to find a van to take us back to Urubamba. We are exhausted, suddenly we are silent in the van and we admire the landscape.
As it is early, we decide to test another coffee that had advised me Petra. Once again we will not be disappointed! It is really pretty and the cakes are excellent. We even decide to come back for dinner tonight. So after
This morning we find everyone at the terminal, direction Ollantaytambo. As it is well written on Wikipedia, “Ollantaytambo is an Inca fortress whose name means the inn of Ollantay, named after a warrior.It was the seat of fierce battles between Incas and Spaniards, Manco Inca there fleeing to federate the Inca resistance after the fall of Cuzco, located 75 km northwest of Cuzco in Peru, at an altitude of 2,792 m, at the junction of the Urubamba Valley and a side ravine on the right. ”
We arrive at the village, we are all amazed by its beauty. I did not remember it was so pretty! We accompany Sonia and her parents to their hotel because Sonia does not feel well, then with Quentin and Sophie we go on perky to ours. We are too happy because it is super nice and the city is beautiful. We discover the two big ruins that we will visit tomorrow on each side of the street; they are on the mountainside and really beautiful! The alleys are narrow and steep, all in stones. In places we see women in their traditional red clothes. It’s really nice to go the distance. We arrive at our hotel. The family that welcomes us is lovely. We will have to wait to get our rooms but it gives us time to change and prepare them a dirty business bag! After half an hour we go out to find the others and we go to eat for lunch. In the main square, a school sells empanadas and cakes … we are tempted with Quentin! We start the cakes before leaving … The others seek their happiness in small restaurants. Once everyone has their lunch we are looking for a combi to bring us to the city of Pachar, starting point of our ride. Sonia had spotted some remains a few kilometers from the city: the site of Ñaupa Iglesia. After searching the internet, I found it to be a ceremonial center between the communities of Pachar and Pomatales. Its name “ÑAUPA CHOQELLA CHURCH” means “the old temple where gold shines”. After having reached the village of Pachar and following the railway for a good hour, we take a staircase of 180 steps cut stone and climbing to the top, to get to the entrance of Waka (ceremonial center) which is a rock shelter. The climb is quite difficult because it slips and the stones are not in good condition. Sophie has a little trouble and Sonia galley because she does not feel good.
Once above, the enclosure is a natural cavity formed by two large rocks of volcanic origin. This wall houses eight trapezoidal niches spread over two levels with four each. The niches had a dual purpose: utilitarian or decorative.
Another important element of the site is the large basalt stone, in the center of the entrance. This is an altar where the sacred ceremonies were performed (and perhaps still are, because during our visit there were offerings). This site is very surprising, original and different from the others we have seen so far. It is especially the black stone in its center which is intriguing.
Sophie announces that she will come down because she is really dizzy. So we decide to go down because it looks really stressed and picnic down at the river. During the descent our poor Sophie is panicked. Quentin will stand in front of her and help him to descend quietly. We will spend our time reassuring her because she begins to have tears in her eyes. Once down, she is all shaking and we jump at the stroke to make him big kisses (and it’s much better ). We are looking for a nice place to eat and then we leave. Another archaeological site was spotted by coming to Ollantaytambo with Quentin. We decided to walk there from Pachar and then go up to Ollantaytambo. The road is very beautiful, we see the peaks of the mountains, the valley that changes color with the sunset. When you arrive in front of the ruins you feel a little foolish because we see them from the bottom of the shot is much less fun. We continue the road until Ollantaytambo quietly. The stroll of the day that lasted 1 hour turned into a hike of several hours but with the sun so we are still happy.
Once back we will each go to our hotels, Sonia really needing to rest. We will have a few hours before going to the restaurant. The restaurant is very pretty, all the decor is woody. On the other hand, Quentin and I will leave disappointed: it was expensive and not well served. Fortunately they have still planted themselves in the bill! Once again Sonia’s parents will have won a meal because the restaurant people do not know how to count! We did not choose to say anything again because they almost put us out! In short, we go back to bed after dinner.
After a good breakfast we meet Sonia, Pascale and Philippe on the main square. Today we will visit two ruins.
We head for the first one which is only ten minutes away. We decide to offer the services of a guide because there is absolutely no explanatory panel. The site is grandiose, we see terraces and small houses in the hills. The ruins of Ollantaytamnbo were used as a military and religious site. The construction of this site in height is not trivial. It allowed Inca leader Manco Pacac and his warriors to have an eye on the whole valley and to prevent enemy attacks (hence the meaning of Ollantaytabo which in Quechua means “place to see below”). The view of the site is beautiful! We can see the mountains, the glacier Veronica (named after a girl who died after trying to climb) and the village. It must be known that the construction of the site was begun before the Incas arrived in the valley. It can be seen by the superposition of the two types of walls: the pre-Inca walls have the stones that are welded using a mortar; while the Inca stones are placed one on top of the other and are much more imposing. In pre-Inca culture the inhabitants of the city lived on the site; after the conquest by the Incas, only the chief and the warriors stayed in the heights. The site was built so that during the winter and summer solstices, the sun coming out of the surrounding mountains, at very specific points (where the mountains form Inca faces), strikes at the entrance of the “puerta del sol” at the top of the site, but also in the sacred fountain below where the virgins were to be purified (water representing life in the Inca culture). It was fascinating to hear the guide’s explanations about all of this! We also learned that in some buildings the Incas stored food for their daily consumption, while in the ruins opposite, which were also ruins dedicated to the protection of the fortress, there was a huge building dedicated to food preservation for several months or even years. There are also large terraces where the Incas grew potatoes and other foods. The Incas had occupied the site for a hundred years, before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1536. The capture of the fortress by the Spaniards interrupted the construction of the fortress; that’s why the walls are not finished and stones are still on the ground. The guide will explain that the stones were recovered in a quarry (where we will spend tomorrow) several kilometers from Ollantaytambo. To bring them back they had to cross the river. This river had two arms which during the rainy season was soon too high for transport. So during the months when the river was high, the inhabitants and the slaves cut the stones and went down to the river, and during the rest of the year they brought them up to the top of the site. But how did they do it? Very simple (I’m kidding of course): they put stones that weighed several tons on smaller stones and then on logs. With the help of ropes they brought them to the top of the site thanks to a ramp on the side of the mountain. To cross the river they diverted the current with the help of stones to cross one side, then the other! All the inhabitants worked on the construction of the fortress and this lasted for several generations. They were between 300 and 400 people to bring the stones to the top. Once up the stones were shaped so that they could fit together. This site is remarkable! as you can see I really listened well 😛
After this great tour we see we can go even higher than where we went. The guide tells us that there will be about 40min. We leave Pascale and Philippe and we go up all four. It climbs harshly but once at the top we will not regret the effort; we have a breathtaking view of the valley! We turn back happy and find the parents. We picnic in the central square and we start the visit of the second military site called Pinkuylluna. We sneak into the steep streets and we find a small entrance. Here too it climbs! but it was not a surprise since we could see what was waiting for us from the ruins opposite. We ride quietly; it’s just as pretty. There are fewer ruins but the views are superb. After a good hour of walking we decide to go get lost in the streets. We will discover the workshop of a wood sculptor who makes magnificent works. He could carve the details of people’s clothes on the pictures he was carving! After having admired his work and discussed with him a little we take our road slowly, we look at the streets and people, we go back to the market and then we will have a gourmet break in a nice cafe. After this beautiful day we will rest a little before all meet for dinner and then it will be big sleep because tomorrow we have a big hike planned.
Today we go hiking to see the “puerta del sol” (or Inti Punku in Queshua) which is almost 4000m above sea level. We have a big day waiting for us; we aim the 6h of hiking. We have a difference in altitude of 1200m from Ollantaytambo … in other words, it will hurt!
We meet Sophie for a good breakfast and we start to find Sonia and her parents in the main square. It is super nice we are all super happy. It’s going to be a beautiful day! We start the road, we walk along the ruins and after crossing the bridge, we begin to undress because it is already too hot! The road is top! We see the ruins of Ollantaytambo, the river, the train and as we are super lucky: the snow-capped peaks! We enjoy a max, so it will take a little too long to get to the door! On our way we will meet some people who bring their horses to Ollantaytambo, very friendly and smiling. After two hours of walking, here we have the choice: take a path that will make us suffer very quickly but that will take us up faster, or bypass the mountain … we choose the fatburning path! We are all in trouble, except Quentin the gazelle who will have to wait for us, for at least 45min. Fortunately, the landscape is top! You can see the whole valley and the summits, it’s beautiful. Once at the top of breath, we decided to take a lunch break behind a big rock to shelter us from the wind. In the distance we see our goal … but very far … We pack everything and then get back on the road. It’s less difficult but we feel that our butt work anyway! We will pass in front of the ruins of a farm. There are very beautiful cows and horses grazing in front of the valley, it is very pretty to see. We advance and there two groups are formed: Quentin, Sophie and me on one side and further Sonia and her parents. We’ll arrive twenty minutes before them. We will be lucky, only two tourists will be upstairs with us which will allow us to enjoy the magnificent view of the valley in the tranquility! When Sonia and her parents arrive there will be two more young people but it will not really make many people for such a beautiful hike. We are all amazed by the beauty of the landscape that stands before us. Unfortunately, as we left quite late and as we have 5h instead of 4h to go up, we must hurry down before dark. The descent being my business I go in semi-jogging! For once I am in front of everyone I benefit! It takes less than two hours to reach the village down but we will have 4km extra to do before arriving at Ollantaytambo. Exhausted we try to stop combis on the road. When I see a void I put myself on his way and he takes us for 2 soles each. As we are exhausted we do not even try to negotiate and we jump in! It will take ten minutes to arrive in the main square instead of a good hour in the dust! Once down the girls rush to go to shower but it’s still nice and it’s time for a drink! So Philippe said he would like to drink a beer and as we are next to where we had a snack the day before, and this place was very nice, we decide to go back. Orders not arriving at the same time and Philippe, Sophie and Pascale do not want to wait until we are all served, Sonia, Quentin and I will stay longer at the coffee shop to discuss before returning to our respective hotels before meet up for dinner.
An hour later we will meet in the main square and we decide to go to the restaurant of yesterday where the server not very talented but ultra nice we had fun. I managed to negotiate the menu and it was great fun offering us fish and offering us two types of dessert. So we go back and I go up first asking the boss if he can make us the same price. He laughs and installs us. The waiter is happy to see us again, he shakes hands with us all and takes our order. For the dessert we ask him if we can have the apple pie that is not in the menu because yesterday we had all drooled in front of the part of Philippe! He is laughing and tells us that there are no worries. After a great meal we all go to bed.
Aguas Calientes & Machu Picchu
- Day 204 – Tuesday 23rd of July 2019 : Aguas Calientes
- Day 205 – Wednesday 24th of July 2019 : Machu Picchu
- Day 206 – Thursday 25th of July 2019 : Hydroelectrica
Wake up a little difficult this morning because we went to bed late and we were very tired, so we miss a little sleep. But hey, we will not have a difficult morning because we will take the train to Aguas Calientes, starting point for Machu Picchu. We get ready and there I open the curtains; rain ! we are disgusted because we did not want to pay the taxi to go to the station. Tampis, we’ll be wet! Raining cats and dogs ! We will arrive after 20 minutes soaked and refrigerated. The others will arrive by taxi. We will wait a few minutes then our train will arrive. It will be hard to stay awake because there will be a lot of steam on the window but after thirty minutes the sun will return the tip of his nose and the landscape will change: we will enter a beautiful green forest where we can see in the distance the beautiful mountains covered with vegetation. Once again we will take full eyes!
An hour and a half later we arrived at Aguas Calientes. Well, it’s pretty ugly and ultra tourist. It looks like a ski resort in worse!
We cross the craft market that I find uninteresting compared to all the others I’ve seen and especially changed since the first time I came! For once our hotel is closer than the others so we let them go to theirs and we will meet later.
Our room is not ready yet but we can change and leave our bag. The hostel and well but it’s cheap! We send a message to others but they are not ready … so we look for a nice coffee and we give them appointment there. I spotted a coffee with pastries that look too good … it’s 200m from our hotel so we go on foot. We meet hundreds of people lining up for the bus! It freaks us! We will have to organize well for tomorrow! We arrive at the French pastry shop … we are horrified by the prices! On the other hand we drool before the cakes … We take a table and there we wait 5min, 10min, 20min … where are they ?? We’re fed up … It’s still Sophie who knows what! After 40 minutes they arrive and we have our eyes half closed. Well, nobody looks super packed, it’s a little sad. Fortunately, Sonia keeps smiling to please us. There will only be three to take something to drink. We will try to see what we can do and how to organize for tomorrow. After this break we decide to go get our bus tickets for Machu Picchu … uh it’s still rape this story! 12USD the bus ride! We paid more than 50USD the entrance! In addition everything is overpriced in Aguas Calientes! We have all the balls so we decided to climb the bus and return on foot. After that we go to the tourist office which gives us indications on our walk of the day: a botanical garden with a waterfall a few kilometers. We buy something to eat on the road then we set off on our way. Everyone is happy to be in the forest; it’s super nice and in addition we hear lots of birds. We’ll see a lot of swallows flying everywhere. We will see a place by the river rather nice for lunch, besides off the road so we will be very quiet. After that we will take the road again and we will arrive at the garden. In fact it is a family who created a garden several years ago and who, with the entrances was able to clear the ground and plant many species of plants and trees. Quentin and I are seduced by the places and as they are also hostel, I negotiate a room for tomorrow night instead of staying in our other accommodation which is blah. We begin the visit of the garden; it is too beautiful ! we are in the forest in fact with the river on our right which runs along the whole path. We take our time, we look at everything! We will see two small waterfalls and as we arrived quite late we will have to turn back to not have to walk at night.
Back in town, we buy food for breakfast and Quentin will return to rest. Sonia had spotted stuff at the Ollantaytambo market that she had been too lazy to pick up so I offered to look for it here and negotiate them so she would not regret not having bought her stuff. So we leave all four with Pascale, Philippe and Soso and let Sophie buy her postcards. The market is horribly expensive and they do not want to negotiate! We are super disappointed and when she gives up I find a little guy who wants to make a good price. So she will find happiness and after looking for Sophie we meet up to eat later. I find Quentin in our hotel a little rotten. The room stinks of smoke, the showers and the toilets are not top and the water is not very hot … strongly the housing of tomorrow! I make a call to Fleur then everyone finds us down the hotel to go to dinner. We will end up in a restaurant that I negotiated but where the service will be dismal and the food disgusting! Sonia will tell the guy that it was really bad but he will only understand half! The waitress had one or two more boxes and she made us laugh so much she was not good and stupid. We will be so disappointed that Sonia will propose to go to a café that she had spotted and which was pretty. She will give us a great dessert to Quentin and me, which will cost more than a menu! Chocolate pancakes stuffed with fruit with ice … paradise! We will leave on this super sweet touch. Quentin and I will take the opposite direction and we will pass the famous restaurant where the guy will not recognize us and will ask us to eat! After having reminded him who we were, we burst out laughing and went to bed; tomorrow wake up at 4:30 to go to Machu Picchu!
After an awakening really too early we loop our bags, we deposit at the pseudo-reception and we go find the other to wait for the bus to Machu Pichu!
It’s raining outside … we are a bit fed up … but it can be better soon! We line up with hundreds of other people and get on the bus at 5:30 in the morning. At the top we are not alone; tourists line up outside the entrance. It stopped raining. People are scrambling to be the first on the site.
We manage to pass the doors and there we are lucky, the site is discovered! In addition what is great when you arrive at the first hour is that there is no one in the photos. We advance quietly; the site is covered and discovered. The mountains around are beautiful. We enjoy watching the scenery and we must hurry because we must present ourselves at the entrance of the hike before 8am. We show our tickets and we start the climb … we will do two groups: Quentin, Sophie and me in front and Sonia and his parents in the back. We climb, for 1h15, stairs in all directions, we never see the end. The landscape is covering more and more, it rains from time to time. When you arrive at the top you can see Machu Picchu a little and then two minutes later it disappears. When Sonia and her parents arrive it’s always clogged. We are all tired. The climb was difficult. We will wait a good half hour in the cold and then by the time we will all come down well disappointed. Unfortunately we can not do anything against the weather! Fortunately the first time I came it was super nice! Once down we decide to visit the ruins. Lack of luck it’s all clogged, we’re still happy to have had the opportunity to see the site on arrival … otherwise I think with Quentin we would have looked for tickets for the next day. The visit will be fast because without guide we only wander through the various ruins of the site. The weather is really bad. We do not even see the mountains around. After the visit we go down the mountain on foot. We did not want to pay the bus a fortune, the trip had already cost a lot! Quentin and I will arrive at the bottom first followed by Sophie and a few minutes later by Sonia and her parents. We will go back slowly towards Aguas Calientes, the rain being always of the part. We decide to eat at the market but only Quentin and I will eat, the others are still not confident with the local food. After this meal we bring everyone to the station, it’s time to say goodbye to Sonia and her parents. We will wait a little while their luggage arrive then after hugs, kisses and full of tears we will give appointment to Philippe and Pascale at the edge of their pool in a year and Sonia as soon as I’m back in France! I’m feeling bad in the socks, I’m sad to not see Sonia again for a year. We decided to go to comfort ourselves with cakes that made us an eye the other day in the French bakery then we go to get our bags at the hostel as we change places for the night. It’s always ugly. We start, we take the same path as yesterday but this time we have a great pace. It will take us 45min to get to the lodge. Until our room is ready, we are offered tea and a French will come to talk with us … the type is “tired of visiting Peru” … weirdo … We get our keys and then we will change to take a shower and chill. We will be the only three in the building, the room of the weirdo being in front of ours. Around 19:30 we decided to eat in the hostel, obviously people eat very early because the cuisto looks disgusted to see us. She will serve us anyway. I will only eat the soup, very warm and Quentin will be the menu. After this meal we will go for a big sleep.
After a horrible night twisting in all directions and emptying me through all the holes in the toilet, I tell Quentin to go for a walk alone in the garden. I am convinced that the bitch of cuisto cut the soup with tap water to have more! Slut !! I suffer martyrdom, I have no energy, as soon as I get up I faint … short, the horror! We will ask to keep the room an hour longer so that I can sleep. At noon, no choice, we must leave because we have a combi for Cusco to take. I’m struggling too much, I’m hypoglycemic. We’ll have a tea in which I put a kilo of sugar, we take a coke not light then we start. I hope I’m not sick on the way. It is a beautiful day today, a pity we did not have this time yesterday … I do not walk badly finally, I concentrate on my way, it is Quentin who will need to take a break because the poor fucks the bag while I told him I will wear it. We will arrive at our bus destination, Hydroelectrica, in 1h30! Not bad for a girl who vomited her guts all night! We arrive in advance, we look for our terminal which is further, we hang on the ground and wait for the driver to pick us up. Once in the combi we will have for 6h before arriving in Cusco. We will take a break after two hours and then with Quentin we will be squeezed into our seats because it is a cold duck outside and the driver rolls the window open, surely not to fall asleep …
Once in Cusco we ask the driver to drop us on the road and then continue on foot. We are tired. We arrive at the hotel and the girl tells us that we have a room for three with Sophie because her reservation did not work. It does not bother us. We hit and there we see our little giraffe all asleep and all frozen. We discuss a little then we go to bed, need to sleep!
Cusco & End of South America
- Day 207 – Friday 26th of July : Cusco
- Day 208 to 211 – Saturday 27th of July to July 30th 2019 : On our way to Tahiti!
We wake up pretty early this morning to have breakfast all three. We will have a French with us, also around the world with his wife, but they are much older. He did not like Tahiti … it promises … We discuss then Sophie will finish preparing. At 9:15 his taxi arrives and there again hugs, kisses and tears …
We get ready with Quentin then we decide to go to the place of arms to know how to go to see the three Inca sites that we wanted to do today. There is animation! A big military parade to celebrate the independence of Peru.
We go to the roundabout we talked about the lady of the tourist office then we take a combi. I still feel a bit feeble today. The first two sites are not very interesting. By cons the third, Saqsaywaman is a little more interesting. It is an Inca fortress and religious center. Built by Inca Pachacutec in the middle of the fifteenth century, following the attack on Cuzco in 1438, it was finally completed by the Incas that followed (Tupac Yupanqui, Huayna Capac). Under the walls of Saqsaywaman was played one of the last episodes of the conquest of Peru. In 1536, during the uprising of Manco Inca, the Spaniards, who held the center of Cuzco, were assaulted on all sides by thousands of Inca soldiers. They narrowly managed to maintain their positions and tried to loosen the vice by a counter-attack on Sacsayhuaman which ended in failure: Juan Pizarro, the youngest of the four brothers, was fatally wounded. The battle gave rise to the heroic episode of Inca captain Cahuide, passed to posterity: while the Spaniards assaulted the tower where he had entrenched himself with several warriors, he preferred to jump into the void and went to crash at the foot of this one rather than surrender.
We go around it quietly because I have trouble moving forward. There is a magnificent view of the city. We will go back to town on foot. We discover new pretty streets with lots of bobos shops. We will also eat in a restaurant bobo, the market is closed (it is 15:30 at the same time …). We will return quietly to the hostel where we will not do much. Demaon is the big departure for Tahiti, the road will be very long so we need to rest.
Go to the Oceania section of the blog!