Tales from the Road: Peru
Residential Sector at Machu Picchu
Rising mists at Machu Picchu.  On our second day at the ancient Inca city the mists seemed to be rising all day long.  The architecture and engineering at this site were quite spectacular.  We could have explored for days.
At the market in Cuzco, Peru March 27 -- After two weeks in the thin air of Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the surrounding Andes, we've pretty much adjusted and can climb up those Inca ruins with the best of them.  There's lots more we can explore around here, but the rainy season isn't quite over yet, and the Galapagos Islands are beckoning.  We head off to Ecuador tomorrow.

Cuzco has been great, though the persistence of the kids on the Plaza de Armas selling postcards, shoeshines, gum and other trinkets has certainly led to "vendor fatigue".  It was a lot less intense both in Lima and also at Aguas Calientes, down the mountain from Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu was great, of course.  We spent two full days exploring the ruins and could have gone back for more.  Our knees, alas, were starting to protest.  You want to see it all, but you also need to pace yourself.  Machu Pichu is definitely worth a return visit.

We understand there's a war going on in the outside world, but fortunately we have little access to the international media.  We do see anti-American grafitti showing up on the big stone walls around town, and there are posters for a peace rally here in Cuzco tomorrow afternoon.  Several Peruvians we've talked to are aware that Canada is not supporting the U.S. in its war efforts, and are respectful of that position.

After seven months on the road, we feel a little distant from the day to day world.  Sometimes that tempers our perspective.

March 25 -- We headed out into the countryside this morning to check out some of the nearby Inca ruins around Cuzco.  Carol stayed back to do some shopping, so John and I went off with a New Zealand couple who are staying at our hotel.  We grabbed a taxi to Tambo Machay, a small ruin about eight kilometers up into the hills.  We figured it would be about a four or five hour hike past four Inca sites and back into town.

It was a warm and mostly quiet day.  We followed horse and llama trails through the hills and meadows, hoping our map was adequate and accurate.  Fortunately it was all downhill.

There were supposed to be four separate ruins: Tambo Machay, Puka Pucara, Qenko and Saksayhuaman (yes, often pronounced as "sexy woman").  We found a couple more smaller sites as well, big granite rocks with staircases and benches carved into them.  A couple other folks joined us along the way, obviously figuring we knew where we were going.

We also encountered foreign travelers on horseback, unsure of where they were really going, and locals camped out in a couple valleys, just hanging out and preparing for some sort of ritual or something.  Each of the ruins had a different design and purpose.  We could tell we were on the right track whenever we would run into a cluster of local villagers, handcrafts on display, awaiting the tour buses.

It was great.  The weather held and we finally made it back to town.

Join us as we explore Machu Picchu
Visit Cuzco and the Sacred Valley
Check out the Niños Hotel
Come cruise the Galápagos Islands
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Child care seems to be a rare service in Peru.  In the central market in Cuzco and also on the streets, we often saw women with their infants tucked into a blanket tied over their shoulder.
Courtyard of the Ninos Hotel in Cuzco, Peru
The courtyard at the Niños Hotel in Cuzco.  Our hotel turned out to be much more than a place to stay, as they also help hundreds of underpriveledged kids every day.
Near the Inca ruins at Puka Pucari
Outside the Inca ruins at Puka Pucari, local villagers waited to sell handcrafts or be photographed.
Gary, Carol and John Koop at Machu Picchu
Our first day at Machu Picchu.  Although we didn't hike the Inca Trail, we did climb part of it up to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate.  That was on our second day at the ruins.  We renamed it the "Fog Gate".

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