One last Peruvian photo essay. After all our trekking, we opted against walking to Machu Picchu, instead taking the planes, trains and automobiles approach.
At the end of the Huayhaush trek we rode our bus straight back to Lima, where the party split--two to fly home, the other 6 of us to leave the next morning on a flight to Cuzco. The bus ride was long, but had its own scenic interest, from the agricultural to the dismaying.
|Orange peppers drying on a hillside.|
|Shanties along the coast.|
|Corn and other grains for sale.|
|Many of the old bits were left in place, and the Spanish made good use of the superior Inca stonework.|
Before heading to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, we spent a day visiting the local sites and sights, including the ruins at Saqsayhuaman, a huge complex and the site of one of the most devastating losses the Inca suffered at the hands of the Conquistadors. From that defeat the Inca began the retreat to their hideout at Machu Picchu.
|Imagine the field before the walls covered, not with tourists, but the dead defenders of Manco Inca.|
We took a private bus and driver to Ollantaytambo, in order to visit other key sites, notably the salt pans at Salinas, above Urubamba, which have been in use since Incan times. Many pans have been in the same family for generations if not centuries.
|Tourists and workers alike wander the narrow dams between ponds.|
|Nothing like borrowing from TWO major US companies at once!|
|Can you say 'ugly dog'?|
|Hotter 'n snot and we still had to carry rain jackets, because the weather can change fast!|
There is also a museum at the base of the climb, worth the visit, as we did (though we'd have done better to climb first and do the museum after, as the ruins close at 4:30!)
|When you reach the ruins, the climb isn't over--the Incas built on slopes!|
|The nephew (who unlike me is not afraid of heights) contemplates the trail, which is closed to hikers now).|
Shortly before closing the sun broke through and gave us a look at the city and Huayna Picchu, the classic photo. The second day, our sons climbed the trail to the top of that peak, though due to a mix-up the adults in the group were unable to get tickets.
|More beautiful light as the clouds blew away.|
|I like the contrast in styles of construction. Religious and royal buildings got the carefully dressed stone.|
Amazing views from the mountain top, and a limited number of people make the climb, admittedly with good reason--2000' of stairs is no joke.
|A VERY long way back down to the town, just at the bend in the river!|
|Beautiful white llama baby!|
|The herd is increasing. Double feeding time!|
The llamas are domesticated animals, but the biscachas (or viscachas) are "wild"--habituated, but not domesticated. Relatives of the chinchilla, they look a lot like rabbits but have long furry tails. They live all through the ruins, which make a great habitat for animals that naturally live in rock piles.
Lots of miles of hiking, and all over now. . . my husband's boots didn't quite stand the gaff, and he took great pleasure in depositing them in the trash before boarding the train to begin the long trip home!
|The Sun Temple|
Copyright Rebecca M. Douglass 2014
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