A South American Escape Part 8 – Cusco

This past Spring, Joline and I embarked on what we considered a trip of a lifetime. Our jaunt took us from the Beaches of Rio, through the Jungles of Iguassu Falls, to the “Paris of South America (Buenos Aires), all the way over to Peru and the Land of the Incas. Below are some of the highlights in photos. Enjoy!

Missed a previous post?

A South American Escape Part 1 – Miami
A South American Escape Part 2 – Rio de Janeiro
A South American Escape Part 3 – Iguassu Falls/Foz Do Iguacu
A South American Escape Part 4 – Buenos Aires
A South American Escape Part 5 – Lima
A South American Escape Part 6 – Sacred Valley of the Incas
A South American Escape Part 7 – Machu Picchu
A South American Escape Part 8 – Cusco
A South American Escape Part 9 – Lima Redux…and home.

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Cusco (or Cuzco) is the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO.  With its network of roads (hand-built by stone), food deposits and weapons caches in the surrounding Andes, it is easy to understand why this city was protected and served as the Inca stronghold.

 

La Compania de Jesus Church

 

 

Cusco Hillside.

 

In 1650 and again in 1950, the city was leveled by massive earthquakes that destroyed all the colonial (Spanish) structures but left the Inca builds in tact.

 

Spinning Alpaca Wool

 

 

Playing the 'Quena'.

We toured the Temple of the Sun and the Korinkancha (Santo Domingo Monastery).

 

 

San Blas area which was a Bohemian haven.

 

Today, Cusco is a cosmopolitan metropolis which also serves as the ‘holding pen’ for Machu Picchu.  However, this city has enough history to refuse to be just a pass-through.

 

Narrow streets towards San Blas from the Main Square.

 

 

Hatun Rumiyoc. Slippery stones!

 

 

Joline in front of the Cathedral

 

 

Hanging out in front of the Cathedral.

 

 

La Compania de Jesus as a Backdrop.

 

 

Nighttime at the Cathedral.

 

 

Drill Team Practice.

 

 

Main Square Fountain.

 

 

R & R at Norton's English Pub. Cusco also had the party/frontier town vibe.

 

 

Folk Performance and Goodbye.

 

 

Yes, I had to try the Delicacy of the Region.

 

 

Peru, and her people, have left and incredible impact on me.

 

Next, on the way home and back to Lima:

(A South American Escape Part 9 – Lima Redux…and home.)

A South American Escape Part 7 – Machu Picchu

This past Spring, Joline and I embarked on what we considered a trip of a lifetime. Our jaunt took us from the Beaches of Rio, through the Jungles of Iguassu Falls, to the “Paris of South America (Buenos Aires), all the way over to Peru and the Land of the Incas. Below are some of the highlights in photos. Enjoy!

Missed a previous post?

A South American Escape Part 1 – Miami
A South American Escape Part 2 – Rio de Janeiro
A South American Escape Part 3 – Iguassu Falls/Foz Do Iguacu
A South American Escape Part 4 – Buenos Aires
A South American Escape Part 5 – Lima
A South American Escape Part 6 – Sacred Valley of the Incas
A South American Escape Part 7 – Machu Picchu
A South American Escape Part 8 – Cusco
A South American Escape Part 9 – Lima Redux…and home.

———————————————————————————————–

On a bright crisp morning, it was time for the coup de gras…Machu Picchu.

 

There she is.

 

Because of the flooding in the area, we could not take the train the entire way to Agua Calientes, the Machu Picchu base camp.

We took individual buses from the Ollantaytambo Station to Piscacuchi where we boarded the train.

A trip to Machu Picchu, the stone-stacked “Lost City of the Incas” that towers 8,000 feet above sea level in Peru, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience within itself.

Aguas Calientes is the colloquial name for Machupicchu Pueblo, a town in Peru on the Urumbamba. It is best known as the closest access point to Machu Picchu.

 

Agua Caliente

 

The trains were actually surprisingly luxurious.

 

Our ride.

 

 

Raging Water with Incan bridge crossing.

 

These floods in January 2010 cut access to Machu Picchu thus strangling the area’s economy.  The route took months to restore and we were among the first groups there.

 

Flood Damages Tracks.

 

 

Floods!

 

Puppy taking nap at the train station.  It was so busy around it and it did not seem to mind. 🙂

 

Nap.

 

After the switchback ascent, we caught our first glimpse.  Wow.  But the fog. @!#$!@$

 

Shroud.

 

A passerby told us, “…if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes…”.  She was right.

 

Majesty

 

 

Tight Corners.

 

 

Bedroom.

 

 

Ruins.

 

 

Fog.

 

There were hikers all over…weary and exhausted.

 

Rest.

 

 

See how the Incas carved the rock to look like the adjoining mountains?

 

 

Grazing.

 

Alpaca were all over.

 

Resident.

 

 

Doorway.

 

 

Vintage.

 

 

Another view.

 

 

There she is.

 

 

Another hiker.

 

 

Summit.

 

 

 

Headed back down...watch out for the uneven steps...Machu Picchu

 

Agua Caliente turned into a party town with hikers/tourists/guides from all over the world discussing their exploits, and their view of this wonder of the world.  Over several beers of course.

 

Agua Calientes - This place turned into a 'frontier town' at night. Fun!

 

Next, Cusco on a Machu Picchu high…sigh…and time for home.

(A South American Escape Part 8 – Cusco)