Inkas and Glaciers, November, 2018
We are amazed with Peru! Ancient Inca cities, Amazon rainforest, glaciers, incredible cuisine and trustable people were so much better than our expectations.
When we arrived at the Plaza San Martin the city was barely awakened.
A pedestrian road lined with once lovely baroque buildings connect this plaza to Plaza de Armas, the main plaza.
Surrounded by buildings that were rebuilt many times, a bronze circular fountain with small lions and goats was the only structure that remained intact since it was built in the 17th century.
On one side of the Plaza de Armas is La Catedral de Lima above which Andean condors were circulating the darkness of the skies. On the side is Palacio de Gobierno. Guards with white shirts and red apulets were standing motionless to protect this building complex, where the president of Peru resides.
Women wearing large straw hats, each carrying children in striped shawls, walked by the side of the road, their braids as black as it gets. Small villages with unfinished brick houses were backed by purple quinoa, maize and potato farms with occasional llamas and alpacas.
We stopped at the ruins of Pisac, which is a Inka citadel above the Urubamba river valley. The children of craft sellers wanted to play hide seek with us by running and hiding behind the ruins.
The main ruins are built on a hill above layers of velutinous green terraces where Inca people grew their crops. These fine ruins include residential buildings, a cemetery, ceremonial baths and temples.
People are kind, they want to sell but never insist.
Salinas has salt pans used for salt extraction since the Incas. It reminded me of Pamukkale in southwestern Turkey where a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs form similar terraces in white. The ones here have colors of café au lait.
We walked on the narrow path above these pans. Salty spring water was running down in small channels next to the path.
On the way to Ollantaytambo is a little town called Janavaro resembling a river of inclined farmland running down from a narrow valley.
At night we went to the small square with restaurants serving simple Peruvian food mostly based on quinoa.
In the evening, we ran up a steep hill to see a waterfall close by more for exercise then site seeing. On the way back it was complete darkness.
Most houses and their doors were shaped in trapezoids. Their thick walls were made of rocks covered with red earth burnt in some places creating a striking contrast of red and black.
After taking selfies with limas, we walked up the mountain following a path made by animals through a forest. Then we went down to the valley until we came to a bridge crossing the Halancoma river.
This area was delightful, with water running from everywhere and trees covered with epiphytes. We followed this trail called the White-tufted Sunbeam trail until we arrived to a farmland.