Friday, May 5, 2017

Welcome to Cusco Peru

What a whirlwind week this has been. I met my friend Mark and his girlfriend, Jenea, in Cusco Peru. Together the three of us hiked the Lares Trek, part of the Inca Trail, and then we arrived at Machu Picchu.

It was an incredible and challenging adventure with Sam Travel Peru. In hindsight especially, it was so worth it! Of course while I was hiking up to almost 16,000 feet I was thinking more about “heart attack” than “how awesome.” 😉

The Flight Crew to Peru…great hats!

After leaving Ecuador out of Guayaquil, I flew into Lima and then connected into Cusco, beginning my Incan adventure. Both my flight, and Mark and Jenea’s flight, was an overnighter. When we met up at the Cusco airport we were all pretty tired. Still, there was so much to see in Cusco during this one and only day before we began our trek, there was no time for sleeping.

3 AM in Lima Airport

Cusco Peru

Mark and Jenea Arriving at Baggage Claim

Cusco reminds me a lot of Cuenca. It has a very old Cathedral in its main square, statues and fountains permeate the area. Cusco was the capital of the Incan empire, and it is from this quaint city that groups depart for various treks along the Inca Trail and into Machu Picchu.

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Main Plaza Cusco

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Cathedral in Cusco

Mark and Jenea, Cusco Peru

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Around Cusco

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Kids in Cusco

Beautiful Andean Town

Looking down from above the city, it is a sea of red tiled roofs. This view reminds me of what I would see in Cuenca when I looked out over the city.

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Roof Tops in Cusco

Steep Streets in Cusco Peru

First Stop, Pisac

We were met at 5 am Friday morning by our guide, Elio, to begin our hike, and eventual tour of Machu Picchu. Our Lares Trek hike would begin about an hour’s drive from Cusco.

Along the way we stopped in the town of Pisac, Peru. We visited Incan ruins that silhouetted the sky along the mountain’s ridgeline.

Inca Ruins and Tombs at Pisac

When the Spanish invaded the Incan empire, they robbed the graves. Incan culture and practice required that the possessions of a deceased person be buried along with him. This was to provide resources for the deceased in his next life. In the photo above, this mountainside was an Incan graveyard. The holes reveal the tombs that were looted by the Spanish.

View From Incan Ruins Overlooking Pisac Valley

Selfie Amidst the Incan Ruins

After seeing the ruins at Pisac, we continued by van to our drop off point for our hike. When we arrived it was pouring rain…

…To Be Continued.