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Day 12 Mon

Day 12 Mon Had breakfast and 2 cups of coca tea to make sure we have the stamina to handle the high altitude. Heading to train station in Ollayantaytombu Urumba for our 1 1/2 hours to go to Macho Picchu. Our guide Harvey explained a few things about Machu Picchu, no bathrooms, no food so we're bringing box lunches with us. W're passing inca terraces where the Incas grew their crops. We've arrived at the train station only to find outthat there's an hou wait. We've been warned about Peruvian time. There we're a lot of school children going to Machu Picchu on a field trip. Bobbie who is a retired teacher but still teaches spanish. She said although these kids live this clos, they probably have never been to Machu Picchu. Their train arrived but I guess ours is after. Finally got on the train and it was very very nice trip to Inca City. They even provided a lunch with 3 courses. Then they came around selling Peruvian books, clothing, Hans bought a sports vest, and I bought a childrens book of Inca history. Got to Inca City and were given box lunches. Since we'd already eaten, most of food is gathered and donated. We got on the Machu Picchu bus to take us up to the sacred ruins. It wove back and forth on the mountain side for about a 1/2 hour, mkeeting other buses and one or the other would have to back up to let the other pass. Once up at the entrance we produced our ticket and passport to get in. once in we we're led up to the sundial. Got the history of that, then to the sacred temple that had windows that were positioned for the summer and winter solstace. We were amazed by the way that the Incas put together the block walls. So exacting of sizes and with such precision of placement. The clouds were threatening around the mountain top but the rain held off til night. There were llamas on the terraces with one having a newborn. I will say that we were all huffing and puffing since there was nothing level. Everthing involved stairs. This place was hidden for centuries until Hiram Bingham discovered it in 1911. It's isolation kept it from becoming a tourist spot until many years later. Our guide said that as late as 1965 there was nothing were Inca City is now except for 3 grass huts that were there for the farmers. Now that there's a railroad from Cusco, it's become a very popular tourist destination. After returning down the mountain, we checked in to the hotel we'd be staying at for the next two nights. Inkatera is an ecological facility that happens to have a hotel. Not reallya hotel either as each of the cassitas (rooms) were in buildings cantaining one story with 4 rooms or 2 stories with 8 rooms. They give tours of their property for bird watching, plants and so on. However, as beautiful as it is, we have other plans for tomorrow, Huayna Picchu. We went to dinner and I'm surprised to see guinea pig on the menu. It's considered a delicacy and an honor if you've been served on, I just didn't think I'd see it on a menu of a place such as this. Didn't stop me from trying it. They served it with some sort of sweetened sauce. Not bad and no it doesn't taste like chicken. More like squirrel.

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Day 11 Sun

Train trip and Machu Picchu

Day 10 Sun. Got up early as we had to catch a plane to Cusco. Had breakfast with Kioto, a concert pianist and Kathy, a cardiologist pediatrician. We discussed our eveing dinners last night. They ordered off of the kids menu as they wanted something simple after having the feasts that we've had up til now. We then took a plane to Cusco. Here's some trivia, Cusco is the oldest continuous city in both Americas. It wss the capital ofa largest regioon that included Brazil, Columbia, Peru and Bolivia. I sat next to a young lady from Minneapolis. She said her and her friend travel a lot and they saw this deal to Machu Picchu. Having always wanted to go there it was the perfect opportunity. They went through a travel agency called Gate 1. I'm going to have tocheck them out. Once we arrived, we all boarded a bus. We wereintroduced to ournew guides, Harvey and Manuel. They gaveus some hot coca tea which is used to help aclimate to the high altitude. We headed for the Sacred Pass where we spend tbe night at the Arwana Hotel and Spa. But first we weres stoppinb at the village of Chimchuro where we were given a weaving demonstration by young girls in the traditional Peruvian colorful dresses and hats. They showed us how the wool was hasrvested, then washed with a local root coming out amazingly clean. After drying they would spin it the traditional way with a wheel spool. They would then dye the yarn using dyes made of leaves for green, minerals for yellow and a type of bug for red.. The bug was smashed and mixed with various other materials such as lemon juice to give it the vivid colors. It would then be boiled with alum to set the colors. We watched them weave using their native loom. They said it took two girls a month of 6 hour days to complete a table runner. It made me feel a bit sheepish when I was negotiating some purchases. We traveled to elevations of 12100 ft. I'm not sure but I think the coca te is working because I'm not feeling any problems. We had lunch at Hacienda Alhambra which at one time, was a working ranch. Our tables were outdoors but we were still surprised when the llamas came walking onto the grounds. I finally tried the cerviche that everybody raved about. It really was pretty good. I guess you would compare it to Vita herring only it was thin sliced and instead of vinegar they used lime juice. There was something that gave it a little kick that made it pretty good. We continued on to Ollantaytambo where our hotel was. Aranwa Hotel and Spa. The grounds were beautiful with all of the flowers and coi ponds. There was a library, a museum, a church, a theater room an ancient Peruvian kitchen and of course, shops that had wool garments and silver and precious stone jewelry. The furniture was all antique and quite ornate. Our room was huge with a cathedral ceiling and double doors going out to a balcony. There was a fresco painted on the wall of cherubs. The bathroom, however, was very modern with a two person jacuzzi bathtub. The whole place had statues and paintings of religeous figures. It was very serene as , I suppose, was the intent. We went to dinner and I was glad that I dressed up a bit as it was quite fancy. Hans ordered loin of llama with a reduced sauce along with the little peruvian potatoes. The llama wasn't something that I would probably have again but it wasn't bad. I had something with quino with a tomato sauce that was pretty good.

Posted by Hanser61 14:07 Comments (0)

Here we go. Did Macchu yesterday. Wayna today. Rained last n

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Heading Macchua


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