Kapoors Year 7: Europe/Ecuador/Peru travel blog

Inka Express Bus Tour - Cusco To Puno With Four Stops And...

The Guide On Our Bus Pointed Out The Ruins Of An Inca...

We Stopped At Andahuaylillas To See The Magnificent Jesuit Church

It Was Built In The 17th Century, And Every Square Inch Of...

We were Allowed To Photograph The Exterior But Had To Put Our...

Apparently The Church Houses A Wealth Of Silver And Gold Treasures

The Villagers Take Turns Guarding The Church, And take Their Jobs Very...

The Frescoes On The Exterior Only Hint At The Beauty Of Those...

This Frescoes Might Technically Be Considered 'Inside' But I Managed To Get...

The Church, Like Most In Peru, Was Constructed On Inca Ruins, A...

Celia Purchased A Book About The Church And I Snapped Some Photos...

This Might Give You Some Idea Of How Elaborate The Interior is

This Is A Photo Of The Restored Wooden Organ, There Are Two,...

Our Next Stop Was At Rachi, To See The Inca Ruins Of...

Vilacocha Was Once The Holiest Shrine InThe Entire Inca Empire

Only The Centre Pillars Remain Standing, But They Are Incredible

Further Along A Series Of Living Quarters Were Arranged So That The...

The Original Water Channels Still Exist And Are Used Even Today For...

A Woman Stands Inside The Grounds Hoping That Tourists Will Give Her...

After Touring The Ruins, I Stepped Into The Nearby Christian Church To...

The Church Was Expty Except For A Woman Weaving A Bracelet, She...

The Road Took Us High Above The Tree Line, Into The Altiplano...

La Raya Is The Highest Point, 4338m (14,315ft), That We Would Reach...

There Is Little Agriculture At This Height, But The Tough Grasses Can...

Our Guide Pointed Out This Stream, It Feeds Lake Titicaca Hundreds Of...

This Region Is Where Most Of The World's Quinoa Is Grown

I Was Surprised To See These Hardy Shrubs Growing In The Altiplano

Here A Farmer Has Covered The Crowns Of The Quinoa Plant To...

Our Last Stop Was At A Private Museum In Pukára, This Coastal...

It Was A Little Alarming To See This 'Mummy' In One Of...

I Was Much More Excited To See These Lively Vicunas In Their...

These Wild Animals Produce The Finest, Most Expensive Wool In The Whole...

The Dramatic Church In Pukára Has 'Lucky Bulls' Atop Each Of The...

It Was So Very Dark Inside The Church, I Was Barely Able...

It Was Intriguing To Walk Along The Centre Aisle And Find The...

As We Passed Through The City Of Juliaca, I Was Startled To...

And Even More Surprised To See This 'Pimped-Out' Version Racing By Our...

And Then The Stunning View Of The World's Highest Lake, Titicaca In...

We Checked Into The Intiqa Hotel, A Lovely Oasis In A Rather...

The Breakfast Buffet Table Gave Us A Glimpse Of The Traditional Boats...

Besides All The 'Usual Suspects' At Breakfast, We Were Also Introduced To...

We Paid A Visit To The Cathedral In Puno And Had Our...

When We Checked Out Of The Intiqa Hotel Two Days Later, They...


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BACKGROUND

Excerpts from the Lonely Planet – Peru:

The rickety railway and the paved road to Lake Titicaca shadow each other as they both head southeast from Cuzco. En route you can investigate ancient ruins and pastoral Andean towns that are great detours for intrepid travelers. The most enjoyable way to get to Puno is with Inka Express, which runs luxury buses every morning. The service includes lunch and an English-speaking tour guide, who talks about the four sites that are briefly visited along the way: Andahuaylillas, Raqchi, Abra la Raya and Pucará.

Andahuaylillas

This pretty Andean village is most famous for its lavishly decorated Jesuit church which is almost oppressive in its baroque embellishments. The church dates from the 17th century and houses many carvings and paintings, including a canvas of the Immaculate Conception attributed to Esteban Murillo. There are reportedly many gold and silver treasures locked in the church, and the villagers are all involved in taking turns guarding it 24 hours a day. Is the rumor true or not? All we can tell you is that the guards take their job very seriously.

Raqchi

The little village of Raqchi, 125km southeast of Cuzco, is wrapped around an Inca ruin that looks from the road like a strange alien aqueduct. These are the remains of the Temple of Viracocha, which was once one of the holiest shrines in the Inca Empire.

Twenty-two columns made of stone blocks helped support the largest-known Inca roof; most were destroyed by the Spanish, but their foundations are clearly seen. The remains of many houses and storage buildings are also visible, and reconstruction is an ongoing process.

The people of Raqchi are charming, kind and witty. They’re also environmentally conscious: at time of research their latest project was trying to become plastic-bag free. And they are famous potters – many of the ceramics on sale in the markets of Pisac and Chinchero come from here.

Sicuani

About 25km past Raqchi is bustling Sicuani, a market town of 12,000 people, halfway from Cuzco to Puno. There’s no real reason to stop here except to break the journey. (And that’s exactly what the Inka Express bus did in order to provide us with an attractive and tasty buffet lunch at a lovely wayside restaurant).

La Raya

Twenty minutes past Sicuani – just before Abra la Raya, the high pass that marks the boundary between the Cuzco and Puno departments – are the Aguas Calientes de Marangani. This complex of five fabulously hot thermal pools, linked by rustic bridges over unfenced, boiling tributaries, is quite a sight in it- self. The added spectacle of locals washing themselves, their kids and their clothes in the pools makes this an excellent, accessible yet off-the-beaten-track experience.

Pukará

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