Monday, 24 August 2015
Tuesday, 17 February 2015
First there is the question to getting there, instead of flying we decided to take a car, queue drama about snow chains (mandatory in Switzerland apparently), road tolls (Swiss and French), insurance, ferry or Eurostar, roof racks and roof boxes. Needless to say Craig arranged pretty much all of the travel arrangements and are going to stay in France on the way back, in Dijon.
So we headed out on the road driving in shifts, the front seats job was to keep the driver awake during their stint driving. It worked really well across the whole journey, only issue was the ferry was delayed an hour and a half, then we had a two hour queue at the boarder between France and Switzerland, seemed everyone needed to buy a vignette(Swiss road toll) at the boarder including us. They charge quite a bit of postage so I can only assume everyone avoided it like us.
So now we are safely in Switzerland in Saas Grund and tomorrow we head to Saas Fee ski resort
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
So we arrived at the main gate at 7 in the end and started our tour of the site. The first guy to get to Maccupitchu in the 1900's was an American, I forget this name but he wasn't even looking for Maccupitchu, he was trying to find a little town called Olltabochy, this little city is on the train line and I got to see a little of it and its also a great little incan city which had a colonial town built on it. So after finding Maccupitchu he came back some years after and recovered a lot of little artifacts from the site and made some assumptions about the use of the rooms. There are many temples and some rooms which they just don't know what they were for, like the three window temple, its a room that they were making and it had three windows but no idea what it was really for.
Some of the site was reconstructed in the mind 1960's as it was again a site of intense interest. There was a massive earthquake centred on Cusco in 1650 and this is the reason they believe that there is some damage at the site. There are not any sign of human destruction to the building. The site itself is huge and the tour with walking around the site took almost 3 hours no including the sungate or Inca bridge. The scale of the city is massive, running down one side of the city are terraces for agriculture, the constitution of which is awesome, they are built from large stones at the bottom, gravel and then sand and earth on top of that. Water that falls on the top trickles down to the next terrace, in this way the soil does not erode and each terrace gets water. Separating the terraces from the other part of the city as a large stair case with a series of water fountains running down the side. These are no water fountains as we would think of but its a small follow of water that has been directed down a series of rocks with groves in for the water to flow. It goes along one grove and then drops down to the next level under another rock and into another grove. The groves are man made and are uniform in size. We do not know what this is for, could be for drinking, watering the terraces in dry seasons as I was told that the water flows all year round from a natural spring near the top of the mountain.
The other two thirds of the city is temples and building for living in. There is an open area in the centre of the city for grazing alpaca.
The hike up to the sun gate was quite long again about 45 minutes and was quite steep uphill but the path was main of rocks that had been placed down to form huge steps. The view from the sun gate was incredible, can see the mount of mantupichu and hyna pitchufrom there.
Taking the bus down hill took 45 minutes and then back on to the train to arrive back at the family homestead by about midnight. Very exhausted but very little time to get ready as I had an early flight to Panama and then to Orlando to go visit my friend Vig and see cheerleading worlds 2014.
Thursday, 24 April 2014
This was somewhat easier a sort of flat trek mainly along a railway line to aguas callientate, the town under the watchful eye of maccupitu. We got a few glimpses of the city from the ground, my phone did not have a good enough zoom but you can tell the city is there from the ground now that the site has been cleared. We stayed the night in aguas calliente, I put into a very budget hostel, I had hot water, which was scolding only to shower in. No toilet paper, not that the toilet flushed, the room was very cold because the window had a big hole in it and the TV did not work so I couldn't even distract myself. But it didn't matter because we had to be up early as the next day was maccupitchu day..........
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Sunday, 13 April 2014
So I'm now in Cusco and have been living with a local family for the past week and they are really nice and welcoming. Astrid the grandma of the house does not speak any English but she has a good grasp of body language. Astrid is really nice and always offering hot water for hot drinks. Done a week of Spanish classes but more on that another time.
So Tuesday i got up early and tried to see the sun rise from Saqsayhuaman, the Incan ruins just about Cusco but as normal things did not go to plan. I missed the sunrise by looking in the wrong direction, it was really cloudy and the sun rose behind the mountain and trees to my left rather than were I was looking. However got a good opportunity to look around the ruins. The stones are huge, think Stonehenge but bigger stones and they have been altered to fit exactly. And I do mean exactly, its like they played a huge game of Tetris with the stones and ground down ones that didn't quite fit into the wall. How on earth they did this I have no idea or how they even managed to get the stone up to 3400 metres of Cusco. The area of the ruins itself might be half the size of Windsor castle but the size of the stones makes Windsor look like it was made with Lego bricks when compared to the huge stones.
Wednesday me and an American lady Geraldine who is also living with the host family took a bus up to Tambomachy which is 400 metres above Cusco. Our plan was to walk down from there on an old tour trail, however it has since been overgrown and is not used anymore and the local Peruvians warned us off of it. However we saw the ruins of Tambomachy and here the Incas had redirected a local stream through some walls creating fountains of water that come out of the wall. Again how they engineered this is a mystery, and again how its standing after so many years is amazing. There are another two ruins of interest on the way back to Cusco that we saw, firstly Pukapukara which was a fort that the Incas built with a commanding view of the valley in which Cusco is situated. The second site is called Qenqo ( pronounced kenco) this is a single giant rock that had been split into two parts by an earth quake and the Incas had craved ledges into the rock, it is said that young incan warriors would be placed on the ledges and given little food and water until they had a vision about what they had to do in the world.
Thursday we had a school trip to the cemetery, the Peruvians commerate their dead very differently to us. The cemetery contained many small tombs which contained it's that the deceased person might like, a doll for a young child, chocolate or coke for others, some contained pictures of the family so that the dead person would not forgot them. After the cemetery vivist we headed up to Christo blanco ( white Jesus) which is on the hill over looking Cusco, this status was a present from the Israeli people to Cusco. Pictures of both it and my class are below. From left to right, Steins, Olly, Paulo (Teacher), Me.
Next time Spanish lessons......
Monday, 7 April 2014
So many hours later I am in a hostel called the lion in Lima, Peru. Its a nice looking and well looked after hostel in Miraflores, which is the tourist section of Lima. First hour I have met an american guy called Chris who lived in Columbia for a year and Emmanuel from Chile who speaks as much English as I do Spanish but we manage to have a bit of a laugh anyway about how cold the shower is. So I looked for a nice beach to rest on but it turns out the beaches in Lima are not good for anything right now because of pollution unfortunately. So instead me and Chris headed into the night to take a look around the city, saw a few of the more pretty places but my camera is not so good in the dark so you'll just have to trust me.
After the stupidity of my last section of travel to Lima I decided to get ahead of the curve and plan the rest of my flights and travel, the next day. So I spent a day looking at travel options and decided that a bus to Cusco and a flight back to Lima would be the best option. So now I have smashed the credit card hard but I know when I have to be in places to get back all the way to England. I have also changed my plans for the next few weeks again. I'll admit that at time when travelling about I have felt a bit lost as I can only talk to people who speak English, I have perhaps three times used a bit of French to get something or understand directions but I think I have mostly been lucky. So on Monday the 7th I start two weeks of Spanish lessons in Cusco, I'm also living with a Peruvian family who don't speak English so basically I'm dropping myself in at the deep-end and hoping that I can learn to swim really quick.
Back to the bus, now I was dreading the bus that it would be like the buses in Brazil, cold, long and boring. Now in Peru they have got busing down to an art. I mean it felt like I was taking a flight. I arrived changed my voucher for a ticket, checked in my bags and waiting to be called for boarding. Once I got on board I headed up to my seat, I had a seat at the front of the bus on the upper level, right in front of the 25 inch screen that they were going to show movies on. I have a foot rest and the seat reclined to nearly flat. The bus steward came around with proper head phones for the movies. Then at about 7 dinner came round, just like it would on a flight, then breakfast in the morning as well. Needless to say I was very impressed and it made the 20 journey a pleasure not a pain.
Being at the front I got some great views of the road, I'll share a few after this :) so I am now in Cusco, with the family and have had a little tour from the old lady in Spanish about Cusco and have a map. Tomorrow I start my lessons.....