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Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu

Posted on Friday Aug 15, 2008

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Since I last wrote, we've ridden a lot of buses, seen a lot of sites and lost a fair bit of sleep. We did the whirl-wind tour of Arequipa which had some spectacular views around the city and an huge Monastery.

At Lake Titicaca I got to fulfill my biggest wish -- riding in a reed boat that had a large puma head fashioned on the bow. Now who wouldn't be obsessed and travel 80+ hours on a bus to do something like that? The world that these people have built out of reeds is something that cannot be described. And the computer I'm typing on doesn't have a USB port so I can't upload any photos yet...sorry.

In Cusco we found the only Indian restaurant in Peru and we've eaten there twice already. We also toured a lot of places that were outside of the overpriced multi-site tourist ticket. This tourist ticket is like Disneyland, buy the pricey ticket and go on any ride you want, even if you just want to ride the rollercoaster. So needless to say we don't have the time to make this tourist ticket worthwhile and I don't think it would be anything like riding a rollercoaster. We made the most of what we could see and avoided the sites requiring the tourist ticket.

But let's get to the reason we came this far: Puma Shaped Reed Boats. Oops no, I mean Machu Picchu. What makes Machu Picchu special is not so much the stone work (you can't spit without hitting a stone ruin in Peru), but the location of the ruins. Deep inside a cloud forest canyon, hidden among 1000+ foot vertical peaks is Machu Picchu. Just taking a photo here is overwhelming because you are submersed 360 degrees in extreme beauty. I wish I was making this up and could tell you that the $120 we spent per person on the train, bus and ticket to get in wasn't worth it. But it was. To top it off the ruins are impressive. Compared to Kuelap (see the earlier post) Machu Picchu is bigger and more finely constructed but much newer. The Inkas (not usually spelled with a "c" down here) took extreme care in building all the structures at Machu Picchu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machu_Picchu.

We took the standard Machu Picchu photos from the guardhouse and we'll post photos soon. We were also among the day's select 400 people allowed to climb Wayna Picchu a spire that towers 1100 feet over Machu Piccu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayna_Picchu. Getting permission meant boarding a bus at 5:30 am and racing through Machu Picchu to be among the first 400. We were there at 6:40 am and were about number 340...phew!

Today we travel to Nasca to see the spooky lines http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazca_lines mentioned in the latest Indiana Jones movie, for those of you whose knowledge of pop culture exceeds that of archeology.

Then on to Lima and back to Ecuador and our poor lonely kitties!