A Travellerspoint blog

Getting to Nazca

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From Cusco we went to Nazca. We had heard that the road between the 2 towns was particularly dangerous so we really looked into safe bus companies to get us there in one piece!! We went with Cruz del Sur and paid 161 to go cama with dinner and breakfast for the 10 hour journey. The road was so windy, zig zagging up and down the hills. I don’t get car sick but even this really new comfy bus could change the conditions of the road!!! Eventually the windiness stopped and we did manage to get to Nazca safe and sound! Would definitely recommend Cruz del Sur though, even if it is a bit on the expensive side, considering all the road accidents in the country.

We went to enquire about flying over the Lines. But to our horror we found the prices a bit too steep. They wanted 400 soles each!! After some negotiation we got it down to 350 soles but the we needed to add in 25 soles each departure tax!! So it would have ended up being £150 between the two of us for 45 minutes. We waited for more tourists to come along because there was no one else in the terminal anyway, and after an hour and a half after not one tourist come, we decided to give up and go back to the hostel. A bit of a blow but never mind there were lookout towers along the road where the Lines were but people had said that you cant really see much from them anyway.

The next day we went to a weird burial site. We drove for about 45 minutes and its called Chauchilla cemetery and costs 5 soles entrance. There were about 12 tombs which were dug into the ground where loads of mummies have been placed. This was after tomb robbers ransacked them. There were loads of burial gift with them aswell including pottery, clothing etc. the weirdest thing was their hair, it is so long and still braided. They all date to around 1000 AD Inca-Chinca culture. Very odd place indeed.
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Posted by downbhoy 13:38 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Getting to Machupicchu

semi-overcast

Getting to Machupicchu

Our itinerary was;
Cusco to Ollantaytambo by minibus takes 2 hours and costs 10 soles each.
Stay in Ollantaytambo overnight.
Ollanta to Aguas Calientes by train takes 2 hours and costs $35 (cheapest we could find).
Stay in Aguas calientes overnight
Aguas to Machupicchu by bus takes 30 mins and costs $15 return (it is walkable but the bus goes up loads of hairpins bends and gets really steep , would be really tiring to do this by foot and would take at least 2 hours!)
Entrance to MachuPicchu 126 soles
Aguas to Ollanta $43 by train
Ollanta to Cusco 10 soles
TOTAL $144 each to get from Cusco and into Machpicchu and back again. Not including accommodation in Ollanta or Aguas!!!

So Ollanta has a lovely square and from the hostel we could see some really old Inca ruins built into the hills around the town. We walked up to one of them that you don’t have to pay to get in (all the others you have to have a Boleto Touristico which is quite expensive) The town has old cobbled streets with irrigation channels down the sides. Our hostel was really cute with old creaky floorboards and rickety staircase and really quaint courtyard with 5 gorgeous kittens who kept us amused for a while.
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From Ollanta we then get the train to Aguas. The route follows the river all the way so you are in the bottom of the valley for the whole time. It had been raining quite a lot and the river looked really dangerous and full. Some of the route looked a bit precarious as the heavy rains had recently washed away some of the tracks so you were looking straight down the drop to the river.
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In Aguas we head over to Anges Hostel just off the main square. But first things first we book our bus tickets and entrance fee to Machu from the ticket office on the main square. The bus is very expensive but we are too lazy to get up at stupid oclock to walk up there!! As it was we ended up waking up at 0330 to go and get in the bus queue. The first bus leaves at 0530. And already when we get there the queue is huge!!! We ended up being on the 3rd bus even after getting up that early!! But we wanted to be there for sunrise!

So just after 0600 we arrive at the entrance and get barked at by the man in the booth ‘7 or 10?’. We thought 7 or 10 what?? So we just said 7 having no clue what we had just agreed to do at 0700!! It took us ages to figure it out, but what it wasn’t was waiting at the top of the Caretaker’s Hut which we thought it meant! But it was a lovely view looking over the whole complex as the cloud broke to give us snippets of the ruins. After being up there for over an hour we realised what 7 or 10 meant! At 7 and 10 am 200 people are allowed to walk up the hills at the back of machupicchu. So we peg it over to the other end of the ruins and start climbing, the boys took Waynapicchu which was the bigger hill and we took the smaller one. The hills look like they are a face profile looking up at the sky. The big hill is the ‘nose’ bit and we did the ‘chin’ bit to the profile!! The smaller one took only 50 mins up and down and the boys took just over 2 hours and looked pretty scary!!!from where we were sitting they looked like hundreds of lemmings were trekking up the nose!!
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The ruins are like a town. It has 16 ceremonial baths all made of stone, a round temple of the sun, the hitching post of the sun which looks like a sundial but is actually used to predict solstices and make sense of the lengthening days coming back into summer. Loads of other buildings included residential buildings, prison cells, temples and working areas. This whole site is perched on a ridge with really steep slopes on either side leading down to the river.
A little bit of history!
Lots of stories go around about the reason for building Machupicchu and the most common one is that it was used by the Peruvian Elite as a weekend retreat place. The Spaniards failed to find it when they invaded.
It was looted in 1860 by German adventurers, but it was really only the local Guechua people who knew of its existence. They took the explorer Hiram Bingham from America there in 1911. Her returned a few times to map the area but he also took loads of artifacts back to Yale. There is still a law suit going on to get those pieces back in Peru. There are pottery pieces, utensils and mummies.
So when the fog lifted and we had a good look around we head back to Cusco

Posted by downbhoy 11:26 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Cusco and getting there from Copacabana

From Copacabana it was going to take 13 hours on the bus to Cusco, changing bus companies in Puno on the Peruvian side. The journey cost 60 bolivianos from a little company just on the main street in Copacabana. The border was only 50 minutes or so away from Copa and then another 3 hours onto Puno.
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We arrived in Puno when it was chucking it down after a comfortable leg from Copacabana on a very nice bus. Puno was our change of bus to continue on through Peru, this was not so comfortable!! We had just found our seats, after some confusion in the terminal and being rushed through the gates, when the bus set off quite hastily. But this was short lived as he reversed straight into another bus!! Oops! So after what we took as being a lot of swearing we were off again!
Our first problem was the skylight window was stuck open. This combined with torrential rain equals a very soggy Darren and Emma and a few other passengers who were sat under it!! We ended up sitting with our rain coats on back to front with our hoods covering our faces for most of the journey!!
The next problem was the not-so-effective windows which didn’t keep out the rain either. This equalled more soggy and cold passengers including Rob and Madeleine and Adam and Vicky!
The next problem was a not so nice bus driver who kept waking people up to see their tickets which did get quite annoying on top of all the other things that were going on! Especially as we were trying to sleep!!
Anyway eventually we arrive in Cusco early in the morning after not much sleep and were greeted by loads of touts for hostels which actually isn’t a bad thing. Soon enough we were whisked away to a very secure and untouristy part of town to a hostel called Urpi Hostel (40 soles per couple per night) (£1 = 4.49 soles).
We found an indoor market which had excellent value food hall place and completely stuffed our faces with rice and vegetables and chicken for 3.50 soles. We were the only gringos here and went back loads of times to the same woman’s stall and had a good feed.
The Plaza de Armas is a lovelt square about 25 minute walk from where our hostel was. It is flanked by some gorgeous old buildings. The Cathedral took nearly 100 years to build in the 16th century, it has lots of steps leading up to it which makes it tower above the rest of the square. On the other side of the square there is an impressive church which was built in 1571 by Jesuits. There was some controversy when it was being built and the Pope got involved (the Jesuits wanted it to be the most impressive building on the square, ie more magnificent than the Cathedral) but by the time the decision was made to put a holt to the building work the Jesuits had more or less completed it!! And it doesn’t fail to impress.
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There must be some law about signage around the square because there are no huge signs advertising shops that slap you in the face, its all very subtle. We didn’t even see Macdonalds until the 3rd day there because it’s signage was just a simple black M stuck to the wall- no bright red and yellow M sticking out from the wall or above the building itself which was nice.
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We found a good restaurant called Jacks which did really good food, quite western and a tad more expensive than we were used to but yummy all the same! They had really good crockery here and we asked if we could buy some but they sent us to the woman who makes them and I could have bought so much stuff in her shop!!!! Its called Jatum Maqui just in a little side street tucked away off the main plaza.
On the Sunday there was a huge procession celebrating the town and everyone in it. Thousands of people were in the parade and some had gone to so much effort to represent their groups. The medical students had made a huge doctor which was so tall and towered over everyone.
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Cusco had a lovely feel to it and we never felt threatened at all, surrounded by lovely green hills.
From Cusco we arranged our trip to Machupicchu……

Posted by downbhoy 08:18 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

videos

Well with a little help from Rob we have finally managed to figure out how to videos on here!!!
So here are a few of them from past blogs.......

This video is of Darren horse riding in Uruguay at the Estancia. You would never guess that the day before he had never been on a horse before!!!!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/downbhoy/

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This one is of us at Iguazu Falls. We knew we were going to get wet but not a drenched as we did!!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/downbhoy/

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These are from Tupiza when we are on horse back again. it was a really nice few hours but it really felt that we were in a Western!!!

These two are of us at the salt flats in Bolivia. It was really bizarre how everything looked and you could see for miles!!

This is of us quad biking in La Paz which was really good fun and a bit tricky in some places!!

will put some more up as I find them, dont know where they are at the moment!!

Posted by downbhoy 10:38 Comments (0)

Copacabana

sunny

This little town looks like it is right on the coast but actually it is 3841m above sea level on the edge of huge Lake Titicaca. On the edge of the lake are lots of beach hut things which sell fresh trout and other lovely meals. Its also a good place to watch the sun go down. The road leading up away from the lake edge is full of stalls selling handicraft stuff, the usual ponchos, ornaments and other knitted things. Prices aren’t that bad either.
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We stay in Center Hostel just off the main road for 40 bolivianos per room per night.
We were on the hunt for a book exchange and had heard that there was 1 hostel which had a good selection but we made it all the way there but it was quite disappointing. But we were rewarded with really good views of the lake edge.
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The Cathedral here was meant to baptisms everyday at 2pm, they are called Cha’lla which means blessing. Cars, buses and trucks were meant to gather here in front of the Cathedral with flowers and ribbons draped over them for their first outing. But none showed up!!! So we sat there for ages just watching the world go by for a while accompanied by a shoe shiner with a really wrinkley face and a lady selling flowers!
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Posted by downbhoy 20:16 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)

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