Day 2 Machu Picchu & Cusco

Our second day at Machu Picchu was better than the first day, if that is possible.  We even had a bit of a sleep in! We headed up the mountain on the narrow one way, not radio controlled road.  Drivers seem to know  what they are doing, Although sometimes, it appeared not!  We got to the top to discover how lucky we were to have two days of blue sky!   This morning there were no clouds, anywhere and we were able to see the tops of all the mountains.  The plan for the day was to climb Wayna   Picchu       Image    (alt. 2693 M)    We were at the gate early for our 10a.m. departure, and started our trek at ten to ten.  I was going regardless of what my travel partners decided, but so happy the three of them joined me, it was awesome to share such a view with Gary and such good friends, yet one more site that really words can not describe.  Not recommended for anyone out of shape, and the cave we navigated thru to get to the very top was a pretty tight squeeze, with a wood ladder to get on top of the boulder, which is the highest point.  Of course going up is one thing, but what goes up, must come down – and coming down you realize just how steep the stairs and trails are.  Not great for those scared of heights,  imagehowever worth working on that phobia to see the views.

With our successful trek up and down the mountain under our belts we got on the bus and headed back down to the town, arriving in time for a few cerveza before boarding the train  to Cusco.
We had a leisurely walk to the train,  and got on board for what we thought was the train to Cusco, however discovered an hour later that we would transfer to a bus at Maras for the 2.75 hr. trip into Cusco.  Of course we were not really prepared, as we were not advised of this little itinerary change, however, after much pushing  and shoving and finding Maureen on a different bus, we all got settled in for the last leg into Cusco.  On arriving in Cusco we were then transferred to our hotel, Novotel Custco, only a few short blocks from the main square. Our tour the next day consisted of several temples and churches in and close to the main square. You could not take photos, in the Basilica Cathedral Located in the main square, but there is no way to capture the beauty of this spectacular pieces of art anyways!  This is a Catholic temple built upon Inca Viracocha’s palace. Built in 1560 by the Spanish architect Juan Veramendi and finalised by master Juan Correa. There is also a painting collection with more than 400 canvases.
We also drove approx. 50 km to the Tambomachay , which is known as the Incan Baths.
It  dates from the year 1500. It had a religious function honoring water as a vital part of agriculture and regeneration of the earth. Of course there are “sales people” at most of these sites, and because I was wearing shorts, they figured I should be cold, and an easy target for a sale. I wasn’t cold, but one ol’ guy was quite persistent throwing a beautiful 100 percent baby llama poncho over my head!  The price started at 150  and by the time we reached the bottom of the hill It was at less than half price, and well worth the cost, regardless what it was made of. But did not purchase.  Once back on the bus, realized that when the poncho was thrown over my head, my sun glasses must have gone flying.  Sylvia’s group, always in a hurry, so didn’t try to go find them, or get caught up with the “salesman” again!
Another interesting stop with Sylvia’s group was .Sacsayhuamán  is high on the hilltops over looking Cusco.
This huge construction was planned and built by Andean Man.
The Incas called it the House of the Sun and the Spaniards called it a fortress because of its zigzag shape and the 1536 revolution. It was one of the most important religious complexes of its time.
Once Sylvia’s Group was rounded up, we were off to see the Statue of White Christ (Cristo Blanco).  182080The statue is located on top of a hill near Sacsayhuamán.  It was built by a group of Christian Palestinians that were seeking refuge in Cusco in 1945. It was a symbol of their gratitude toward the city, and was their parting gift when they finally returned to their home country. After some photos, even some from behind, Sylvia’s group was off to Just beyond Sacsayhuamán lies Kenko. The name means “labyrinth”, and it is believed that it is a place where sacrifices took place. We have had contradicting stories throughout the trip, whether or not the Inca performed human sacrifices. The cave, and tunnels were a little spooky, and a flashlight was used to illuminate
the actual alter.
The next morning we found ourselves running through heavy traffic,  suit cases in tow, to catch the Andean Express train to Puno .   Our pick up time changed from 7  to 7:30. Which needless to say was a BIG mistake! Only if you have travelled in cities in Peru could you come close to understanding the “dangers” of getting out of a vehicle along a street, run across that street, and a block to the train station.  We were stuck in traffic, it was going no where and we had maybe 10 minutes before the train pulled out of the station.  (Of course here I would like to show you a photo of the “crazy” traffic  which i took just prior to being told we would have to get out of the bus and run for it, but ALL photos taken in Cusco were deleted!)   We made it, without too many dirty looks, and off we headed to Puno.  What a wonderful   10 hr. train ride! The train was spectacular, complete with fashion show, live entertainment, an of course a wonderful meal,Oh, and of course, they didn’t forget the traditional welcome cocktail… pisco sour!
Stay tuned for our adventures in Puno, Uros, and Tequile Islands

PS:   Did Gus tell you about his hummingbird picture Maureen? image

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