|I got up at 5:15 to take the sunrise over the Lake unfortunately it was cloudy but still took some overcast photographs. Said to goodbye to Puno and headed north on a 36 seater executive coach on the La Punta deal Sol, The Road of the Sun to Cusco. I think the reason why it is executive is that there are only 12 of us on the coach. 4 Peruvian, 4 Germans, 2 English our guide Eric for the day and the Driver.
The coach has wi fi and I am completing the trip whilst on the move another first.
First stop after 90 minutes was a village called Pukara 3991m. It it famous for being the first regional centre of population during the late formative period 500 Bc. It is the basis of all Andian culture prior to Incas. The site has a regilious ceremonial platform pre dating but similar to incas.The Pukara style is associated with impressive monolithic sculptures with a variety of geometric, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic images. How's that for a description?
We arrived at our next stop at 10:30at La Raya Pass this is at a height of 4335m and is the crossing of the Andes between the Bolivian range to the South and the Peruvian to the North. It is also the valley that drains into Lake Titicac and the other side leads down to Cusco and the Sacred Valley. The weather was overcast and temperature dropped to 3c
Hereafter we head downhill between the Andes and the scenery and temperature increases as the greenery and futile lands. We have lunch with our German travellers who are undertaking the trip similar to ours in reverse order.
We next visited the Raqchi Temple of Wiracocha at 3450m. Wiracocha was the Superior God of the Inca and the centre of Inca food production. The site is in a well preserved status, with the majority on the main interior wall still standing. It was built of stone, brick, wood and straw. It also has 128 home structures as well as over 180 round food storage buildings approx 10m across. The food served approx 100km around the area and up to 1 million people at its height of power. The site is older than Macchu Piccu and its building better reserved.
Our penultimate stop at Andahuaylillas "Sistine Chapel of America at 3122 m. The church San Pedro Apostoll was built by Jesuits in 16th century on top of a sacred temple for the Inca. The reason why it is named the Sistine Chapel is because of the wonderful art work within the roof and the gold leaf which adorns it. Around the Spanish style courtyard stood 450 year old trees covered in old mans beard. This must be one of the oldest living trees that we have touched.
We passed a few Inca ruins one an old fort and secondly a gated entrance which provided security and toll charging to enter or exit Cusco, the major city of the Incas.
We head down again for our disembarkation in Cusco ready to meet up with Dave and Irene, slightly knocked about on the poor road network but nothing a good Pisco sour won't relieve.
It was great to see Dave in the courtyard of the Mercado hotel, gently snoozing after reading his book and awaiting our arrival to down a few Piscos. Unfortunately Irene is suffering from a touch of altitude sickness but hopefully will join us for lunch