11.06.2012 - 24.06.2012 12 °C
I've got to admit that I've fallen hard for Peru. We've been here for around 3 weeks now and it's completely bowled me over. Dave came here 12 years ago so we didnt want to repeat the same holiday and I really don't think we have. Where Ecuador was all about the nature, wildlife and landscapes, Peru has mainly been about the amazing history and the people.
Starting off in Trujillo, we went to the Huacas de la Sol y Luz, and saw extraordinary examples of (recently excavated) Moche civilisation. This culture came before the Inca, and were responsible for remarkable pottery and artwork in the temples that looked incredibly lifelike.
We then fast-forwarded to Cusco via Lima on some luxurious and not so luxurious long long bus journeys. It was definitely worth it as we saw the sunrise on a mountain plateau a few hours before descending into valley of Cusco, residing at just over 3300 metres above sea level. It wouldn't be exaggerating to say it took my breath away (perhaps it was the altitude and the steep stairs up to our hostel!).
We spent a few days in Cusco acclimatising to the altitude and the very cold nights. We bought the obligatory gringo alpaca headgear, they certainly are toasty! Then we spent a week roaming in the Sacred Valley in the build up to Machu Picchu. Every remnant of Inca life we saw in each place (Pisac, Moray, Salinas, Ollantaytambo) showed just how intelligent, scientific, and awe-inspiring these people were. Moray for instance is thought to be an experimental greenhouse with rings of ledges circling downwards into a perfect circle at the bottom of a valley. From top to bottom, there's a temperature difference of 15 degrees. This enabled them (hypothetically) to introduce potatoes from warmer jungle areas and slowly bring them down ledge in order to acclimatise these plants to colder mountain areas. Very cool.
Then we went to Machu Picchu. We started off rushing through the area to get up onto Huayna Picchu, which is the big mountain you normally seein the pictures. Going up was very hard, coming down nearly killed me. Totally worth it though. It's the sense of scale and the mountain backdrop that makes it so impressive.
Now, we're back in Cusco, heading off to Puno tomorrow to make the most of our last few days in Peru before we cross over to Bolivia. We were lucky enough to be aroundfor the run up to and the day itself of Inti Raymi - the biggest Inca festival of the year. We've seen numerous parades, fireworks, costumes and dances. We've also had a taste of the modern day culture and people, and it's already on my list of places I'd love to return to.