Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Peru; on the Gringo Trail
After over a year of travel, Tim and I were both getting a little tired from being on the road, and ready to go home. But then we landed in Peru, with its snowcapped peaks, amazing ancient historical sites, interesting culture, and excellent food, and we both felt revived, happy to be on the road again.
We flew into Cuzco to start our tour along the famous gringo trail, which includes Macchu Picchu and other Incan sites, as well as many colorful local markets. Note that we actually flew this time-I have finally grown tired of all those local buses, although they made for some good stories, like this one: A ride on an Indian local bus. After several days acclimatizing and visiting smaller sites, we headed to Macchu Picchu by tourist train. We stayed all day, hiking up Waynu Picchu (the steep peak seen in most of the photos), and bringing books and towels to lay out in the nicely trimmed grass (mostly trimmed by llamas!). It was a perfect day, with changing light conditions throughout the day.
The Incas built with some amazing stonework, especially considering that they used stone tools and had no wheel! The rock work is intricately fitted together, and stones weighing many tons are placed perfectly on top of each other. They also built water systems and fountains that still flow with clean, clear water today, more than 700 years after being built. I wonder if our copper pipes and fittings will last that long!
A foggy morning at Macchu Picchu.
Wild Orchids grow throughout Macchu Picchu and the surrounding area.
As the day progressed, the sun began to come out, shining beautiful shafts of light into the ruins.
You can see the stone knobs that the thatch roof was connected to.
Lupins and many other beatiful flowers abound in the Andean highlands
Rabbit? Squirrel? Rodent of some kind?
Example of the fine rockwork done by the Incas using hard rocks as tools.
Ollantaytambo. These granite stones came from the quarry way up on the mountainside on the opposite side of the valley. To get the boulders across the river, the Incas brought them to the edge, and then diverted the river to the other side!
View from the stone quarry at Ollantaytambo. Stones were brought down the mountain, across the valley, and to a point about 150 meters up the slopes on the other side.
A fountain at Ollantaytambo. Some of the water systems built by the Incas nearly 700 years ago still flow today.
Niches in a Pisaq temple
Lifting a sheep onto the top of the bus!
Chinchero, at 3500 meters.
Hiking around Chinchero
Photos of colorful Andean markets
This video shows about 30 seconds of a traditional Andean hunting dance.