Dec 222004

04.12.21-22 Photos of Machu Picchu, Peru

04.12.17-22 Photos of hiking the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu

We finished the trail on Dec 20, and I hiked up Wayna Picchu (mnt behind Machu Picchu) yesterday. It was a fantastic experience – great people, and a rewarding effort.

I will have to write more on the subject, but I am still letting it all sink in.

Dec 162004

We leave tomorrow for the Inca Trail. Still have a hard time getting enough air when doing the steep stairs around town, but figure I should be ok for the trail. I’m sure it takes longer than a few days to build up enough red blood cells to manage it with usual exertion. Makes you even more amazed at the Inka priests and soon-to-be-sacrifices that climbed up 7000m peaks in straw sandals.

We will be on the trail for 3 days, arriving early in the morning at the sun gate to Machu Picchu. I hope I can get a night ticket to MP, but it depends on the season. We overnight at a town a few miles a way, then head back up the next day. Then it is the train back to Cuzco.

I’ve been meaning to post some pictures, but none of the computers here seem to have image editing programs. That and usually only one of the computers has USB and a CDROM. I might get around to it, but no promises.

Dec 142004

(Photos for this entry can be found here: Cuzco, Peru)

Anna and I had an absolutely amazing dinner last night at a place called Greens. Really hit the spot. With two great dinners in a row, I figured we were ready for an upset tonight, but we are in luck again. Another great meal from a place called Granja Heidi.

Anna and I spent the day wandering around Cuzco. The stairs were a bit easier today, but by the pounding of my head, we overdid it. We managed to hike quite a bit into the local areas of Cuzco. Probably not such a great idea at night, but it seemed quite safe in the day. Found some really great views from a point called the white tower. I will have to see if my gimpy picture taking actually lets me stitch together a panorama from it. Funny how the worst houses in a poorer city have all the great views. Mind you, there are those pesky mudslides.

I blew through a full memory card today, 512 of Cuzco goodness. I’m not sure how many pictures will make the cut, but the visuals of this city are impressive. We got to check out some of the original Inka walls on a street near us. Very impressive. Can’t even fit a piece of paper into the cracks, but the stones are all different sizes. It is like a giant jigsaw puzzle with massive blocks of stone.

You can’t help but feel a bit of despair over the treatment of the city by the spanish. Just the foundations of the Inka structures are amazing, one can’t imagine what the full palaces must have been like. The original city was designed to look like a jaguar. They made visuals and symbols such an important part of their life here. Everything was in its place, and meant something.

Dec 132004

(Photos for this entry can be found here: Arequipa, Peru)

We didn’t end up doing Toro Muerto, as I was sick the night before (Inka revenge?). We spent the day cruising the city and snooping in on church services. San Francisco lit fireworks of some bizarre burning man-esque structure in front of the church. Good thing the church was made of stone, as some of them didn’t quite fire right.

We flew from Arequipa to Cuzco with some famous (not to us) futbol players and about 20 boys from the San Francisco catholic school. It was most of the boy’s first flight, so there was a chorus of squeals on take off and turbulence. It was a nice flight though, got to see a bunch of the mountains and terraces on the way in.

Cuzco is a very beautiful city, much more lush than Arequipa, which has more of a SoCal environment. The streets here are amazing, and the surviving dogs know to hug the walls when they walk around.

We are staying at Hostal Marani for 4 days, then it is the Inka Trail for 4 days, then Machu Picchu. Hopefully we aren’t too soft.

Dec 112004

Hopped up on IncaKola, Anna and I survived the 30 hours of travel and managed to make it to LAX, San Jose (CR), Lima, and finally, Arequipa. It is a great city. We did the local thing today and checked out the Monasterio de Santa Catalina. The site is amazing, even more impressive is how they managed to lock themselves away from the public for almost 400 years.

Tomorrow we make our way out to the petroglyphs at Toro Muerto. A bit more local stuff Monday morning, then we take off for Cuzco.