Monday, 20 August 2012

12,000 feet

A sign of the conquerors 

To the Andes beyond

Homeward bound 

I traveled to Cusco from Panama and although I still have Panama stories, I need  to write the stories in order of the photos I can down load. I was in Cusco for a few days and went on day trips from there.

Cusco, often spelled Cuzco, is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. Its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft). Wikipedia

I spent the first day, after arriving at stupid o'clock from Lima, wandering in a tired daze. Really, what was I thinking. It's cool sleeping in airports with your pack under your head when you're 20, not cool when you're ever so slightly older. My flight from Panama arrived in Lima in the early hours and I then had to recheck for Cusco. A few hours dozing on the seats I thought. Not a great plan, especially as there was a hotel at the airport, fancy that. I stayed there on my last night, an excellent choice.

Oh well, I was there. The hostel people were lovely. They arranged everything and gave me advice on where to go in town as well. The wandering was fantastic except for the nagging headache one gets at altitude. It's an oddly spaced out feeling. 

The second day I went on the Sacred Valley journey. Their description:

Our Sacred Valley tour begins at 8:30am. We visit Pisaq´s archaeological site and handicraft market. On our way to Urubamba, we go by colourful towns as Coya, Lamay, and Calca. After lunch in Urubamba, we sightsee the ancient inka town and fortress of Ollantaytambo. In Chinchero town, we visit the San Pedro Church. Our tour ends in Cusco´s main square.

Fantastic is all I can say, what an amazing day out. The final stop was the one that possibly impressed me the most. The photos are all from Chinchero. We arrived there at sunset, 12,000 plus feet up and watched the day turn to dusk while exploring the town. I had some wow moments, like walking into San Pedro church. I really did not expect to see such an ornate interior. It seemed out of character with everything else we had seen, and I suppose it was out of character, as it is the evidence of the brutal colonising that occurred when the Spanish arrived in these parts. 

I could have stayed in Chinchero for longer, I suspect it would take me a while to capture the place properly. The light was amazing, so clear. As it was, this stop was just a small peek in the window of life that illustrates the dichotomy that seems common in colonised countries. The mix of the old life and the new, the mixing of the peoples as they become one and the differences each brings from their lives before each other. Capturing the sunset over the Andes from this place was a challenge and I hope to find that photo to share soon. 

San Pedro

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