A Travellerspoint blog

Machu Piccu

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4th December

Just like the Salt Flats in Bolivia, Machu Pichu is the big attraction for Peru.

I'm booked on a 2 day tour staring with the Secret Valley and the town of Pisac with more Inca ruins and a mountain full of holes which are the burial areas where bones and mummies have been found. The Wari were here in the 10th century and started the construction and the Incas arrived in the 12th century and we can see the difference in the the materials and technique used in the construction.

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Today, In terms of agriculture, potatoes are grown at altitude (they have 400 types of potatoes) while corn is grown in the valleys. Their corn is very large, about 4 times the size of ours.

Then the town of Ollantaytambo, a small village at the foot of a mountain and dominated by 2 Inca ruin sites. Some impressive terraces again with a ceremonial temple at the top.
From Ollantaytambo I take the Inca train for a 2 hour journey along the river with huge mountains all around to the town of Aguas Calientes where I spend the night.

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Day 2 - Machu Piccu
Up at 4.15 for breakfast and then half hour bus to MP where we arrive for 6.30. We have a 2 hour guided tour in English and then are left free. Thanks to its unique location, the site was not found by the Spanish and was only discovered at the beginning of the 20th century. Therefore, 80% of the site is original which is quite impressive. It is not known why the city was abandoned and when. In its days, it is thought that around 500 people lived there. It will have taken millions of workers 50 years to build. These workers came on a rotation system.

Machu Piccu dates back to the 15th century and is located at 2430 above sea level above the Urubamba river. The terraces are used not only for agriculture but also as foundations for the city. The irrigation system is very sophisticated using stone channels which prevents flooding whilst watering the crops and thanks to the way it is built (like the pyramids) the city has resisted to hearthquakes

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At 10am I'm booked to climb Wayna Piccu, a 200m climb on mainly rock steps in some areas totally vertical. I'm glad I've done quite a bit of trekking by now so I find it ok. On top we are at 2700m above sea level.

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Posted by Lifeis4living 16:34 Archived in Peru Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises mountains forest english Comments (1)

Cusco

Moray terraces and the Salinas

overcast 20 °C
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Cusco - the world's belly button according to the Incas

I love Cusco. The centre is a very pretty town with a lovely plaza and lots of really nice colonial architecture, churches and narrow cobbled streets. I'm staying at a great hostal run by french people and we have pancake for breakfast. A real luxury!

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I hook up with a German girl and an American guy and we decide to take a tour and have lunch at the local market. It's nit for the faint hearted as you will see from the pictured! Lol. In the evening we go and try the local delicacy - guinea pig. I Would not recommend it but you have to try the local cuisine why you are here right?

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3rd November
I take a tour to the local area:

Moray terraces

In the shape of an amphitheatre, the terraces are quite impressive. Each terrace seems to benefit from its own microclimate according to its depth and height. Apparently the Incas used them as a kind of laboratory to determine the optimal conditions for each crop. The rock absorb the heat day and release it at night.

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Salinas

Second stop, the salinas which is a bizarre phenomenon in the valley in the middle of the mountain. These hundreds of little salt parcels are fed from a hot salt spring which runs down from the mountain. After evaporation, the salt is collected.

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Français
Les terraces de Moray
En forme d'amphithéâtre profond, chaque terrasses semblent bénéficier de son propre microclimat selon sa profondeur. Les Incas l'auraient utilisé comme laboratoire afin de tester les conditions optimales pour chaque culture.

Les Salinas
Un spectacle assez spectaculaire dans une vallée, des centaines de puits salants servent depuis l'époque des Incas à l'extraction du sel. Un petit cour d'eau très salée provient d'une source chaude. Déviée par les puits, il permet de récolter le sel après évaporation.

Posted by Lifeis4living 11:46 Archived in Peru Tagged landscapes mountains french forest english Comments (0)

Lake Titicaca and Copacabana

sunny 25 °C
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26th November
Bolivia side
Copacabana

Early start to take the bus to Copacabana, a little village on the edge of LakeTititcaca. I am so pleased to get out of La Paz and be in the country again. To get there we have to cross a small section of the lake. The bus goes on a kind of raft and we go on a little boat.

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I check into my hotel (lake view no less :) ) and I find in the foyer, a young 23 year old half french, half english guy. As we get chatting, it turns out he lives in Crozon (not far from where I come from in Brittany) and has actually been to the same school as me! (obviously many years later). The world is such a small place! We go for a drink and watch the beautiful sunset on the lake.

27th November
Isla del sol

Lake Titicaca is not only the biggest in South America but also the highest navigable lake in the world..
40% belongs to Bolivia and 60% to Peru.

The most known island of the lake, the island is, according to the legend the birth place of the sun. After being dropped on the north side of the island, a short trek takes us to the creation rock, some Inca ruins and a rock table where human sacrifices were made. Then a 3 hr trek to the port on the south of the island finishing with the stairs of the Inca. The scenery is just beautiful with the blue lake all around and the mountains in the background. I have a lovely room with a balcony looking over the lake and the sunset is just beautiful and the place is so quiet. The only thing you can hear are the donkeys.

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Peru side
The Floating Islands
The next day after making it back to the mainland, I take a bus crossing the border to Peru to reach Puno. The next morning I join a tour which first takes us to one of the floating islands of Uros where we learn how the island is made of reeds, how they make their houses (there are just 4 on this one, how they cook and navigate. The children go to school with the reeds boat on a nearby island where there is a school also made of reeds. There are hundreds of floating islands all around. Some accept visitors and some don't.

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Homestay on Isla Amantani (population 4000)
Next stop is the island where we will spend the night. Our group of 15 is divided in smaller groups and I join an Australian lady and a French couple. We climb the hillside on a rocky path behind our host, Julia who leads us to her humble house. We each have a room with a simple bed and a table. There are 6 blankets on my bed! The toilet is in the garden with a bucket of water serving as a flush when you've finished.

After a small lunch of quinoa soup followed by potatoes and fried goat's cheese (they only eat meat once a year), we climb the 200m up to the Pachamama mountain (Mother Earth) to see the sunset and look around the ruins of a temple from the pre-inca time of the Tiahuanaco culture (200 BC to around 1000 AD).

I sleep very well and get up the next morning for a 6.30 breakfast of matte tea with a kind of fried pancake. We say goodbye to our host and climb down the mountain back to the boat which takes us to a 2nd island (Isla Taquile - 7 km sq, 2000 population). People here, like on the other island still wear the traditional clothes. Also as today is Sunday, after church, everyone meet in the main square where the most important men of the island report on matters of the last week and announce what is to happen the following week.

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On our return to Puno, to our surprise, the town is in full fiesta with a kind of carnival in the streets with people dressed in various styles dancing to Peruvian music. Apparently it is Puno national day.

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Ps: As you can see from the date, I am very late with my blog as I have been having problems uploading pics due to slow wifi.

Posted by Lifeis4living 18:50 Archived in Bolivia Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains english Comments (0)

Sucre and La Paz

sunny 25 °C
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23 November
Sucre
Spend a couple of days in Sucre where the main interest was a textile market which was great. Also saw a few couples getting married. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos as the locals do not like to be photographed as they believe part of their soul stay in that photograph. Julie managed to take some but I have not got them yet.

25 Novemver
Last night I took an overnight bus to La Paz. The best bus yet with very wide seat reclining to a bed. Very comfortable.
In La Paz, I cheched into a hotel for a bit of tlc as all the hostels are party hostels which I do not fancy. The only problem with hotels is that you do not meet anyone.

La Paz is a huge city, I believe 1 million population. Traffic is chaotic and it is very polluted.
So I decide to walk down to the main plaza and after chatting to a couple from Canada I join the free 3hr walking tour. We take the cable car to the top of the mountain, visit a witches market with lama foetuses hanging from the stalls. They use this for offerings. We see a young guy who wants to build a house so he comes to the witches market to have a plate of offerings specially created for him with all sort of things on it. He then has to burn this offering on the ground where he wants to build the house.

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Posted by Lifeis4living 19:56 Archived in Bolivia Tagged english Comments (1)

Potosi - ville minière

sunny 10 °C
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21 novembre

A 4090m, Potosi est la ville la plus haute au monde. Bien que la plupart de l'argent a été extracté à l'époque coloniale par les espagnols, 60% de la population mâle travaille toujours dans les mines aujourd'hui. Certains y vont des l'âge de 15 ans et les conditions n'ont guère amélioré. L'espérance de vie des mineurs est d'environ 40 à 45 ans. Je ne suis pas descendue dans la mine car je suis claustrophobe mais ceux qui y sont descendus sont revenus très choqués par les conditions.

J'ai aussi visité le musée où l'on fabriquait les pièces d'argent pour la monnaie et ai découvre que les billets de monnaie bolivien sont maintenant imprimés à Rennes. Il y avait beaucoup de français et la guide nous à fait le tour en français.

Photos comme d'habitude sur le blog anglais

Posted by Lifeis4living 17:57 Archived in Bolivia Tagged french Comments (0)

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