Saturday, May 20, 2006


Leaving Cuzco

I left Cuzco today and crossed into the Secured Valley. Along the way I stopped to get fuel. I had to wait a few minutes for the pumps to clear and while the guy was filling up, I got another offer to buy the car. Sometimes I think not a day on the road goes by without an offer.

My first stop was Urubamba which is close to the train line to Machu Picchu, the site is the last stand for the last Inca Emperor. It also has some amazing stonework atop a ridge.

I still wonder how they moved rocks the size of a small car and got them to fit perfectly.

I then took the road south to my next stop at Pica for the ruins up on the hill and the Sunday market. This market is not as big as some I have seen, but good for the tourist things and a look. The ruins here are mostly terraces but with a temple for the Sun and Moon. You can still see most of the "sun dial" which was used to tell the season, but more important for these people was the coming of the longer summer days and the rainy season, as all this revolves around agriculture. The water source is still running and the channel that feeds the temple and farm land works right down to the bath. By the way, it's cold!

At noon I left there and headed down to Tipon. Here there is some good Inca terracing, still with the water flowing from the spring high in the hill. I cannot help but think how the Inca were the masters of the terraces and thheir knowledge of water. They knew thatwater finds its own level, and with this they could make a fountain work with underground pipes using water from high on a hill for pressure.

With all this out of the way, it's south again along the highway that follows the valley. At first the sides are steep and close, but as the miles grow, the valley widens. The peaks become less and the road climbs little by little to climax at 4300 meters with just snow capped peaks on one side and high plains on the other. Even the peaks drop from the rearview mirror and the road slowly descends to 3900 meters and flat.

In the Morning my first stop is for the funeral towers at Sicuani. As with many of these sites that date from the pre-Inca, you can clearly see the different stone work after the Inca conquest or merge. The area is also know for its Toros and on my way out I could not help but stop for a pic of the two bulls atop houses and gates (it is meant to bring good luck). When I stopped, this woman came out and did not mind getting in to the action!

I then drove down to Puno but as there was little here I wanted to see. I just keep heading south for Lago Titicaca and Bolivia, just a quick hour between the two countries back on the road and one more to Copapbana (the hottest spot north of Havana). The days here are warm but the nights are cold. Some hing to do with the altitude, but with the cold comes Trout from the lake and how tasty they are when you are sitting by the lake in the afternoon relaxing with a cold beer.

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