June 3rd
2007
written by Alonna

Wow, what an amazing trip! Peru is a beautiful country and Ben and I had a great time. Check out some of the photos that I posted from our trip. Some of them deserve a little explanation, so I will post a few stories here. I have also posted a trip report on tripadvisor.com, although it’s geared towards people who are planning a trip there, feel free to check it out if you’d like. You can get there from this link: Tripadvisor Trip Report.

Cusco
Our first stop in Peru was in the city of Cusco. This city used to be the Inca capital until the 1500’s when the Spanish came and conquered. Cusco is at 11,000 feet and although we didn’t get altitude sickness, we were definitely huffing and puffing going up stairs or inclines. In Cusco we had a great time shopping and walking around the city.

Probably the coolest site in Cusco was the nearby ruins called Saqsaywaman, where the Inca brought giant stones over 7 miles to make this fort. When you see these stones in person, it’s hard to imagine the Incas moving them there. They also didn’t use any mortar; instead they carved and polished the rocks so that they would fit together perfectly. It’s amazing.

Saqsaywaman - Alonna      Cusco - Melanie

At lunch one day in Cusco a girl named Melanie, who’s mother worked at the restaurant, joined us for lunch. She was totally adorable as you can see. Since Melanie was young and spoke using simpler sentences in Spanish, we had a fun time trying to communicate with her. I gave her a little hair binder that I brought along, and she was pretty excited. It was a cool experience.

Wilhoc
Wilhoc is an isolated village in the mountains of the Sacred Valley (the large valley between Cusco and Machu Picchu). We had a guide one day that took us to this village to see the people living in the traditional ways. When we arrived, all of the women started to come towards us and setup their weavings on display for us to see (and buy). We were shown how they make a poncho, which takes almost a month just to make one. Everyone in the town was wearing their everyday traditional clothing (they didn’t know we were coming, they always dress this way), in beautiful bright reds and oranges. We then went to the town school, and our guide took us into a first grade classroom. He asked each student to say their name and age. We passed out pens and bread to each student (I wish we had more school supplies with us to give out), and then they sang a couple songs to us – actually it was more like shouting than singing. The kids were very cute and it was really fun to meet them. After leaving the classroom, Ben and the guide attempted to hand out the remaining bread to the other students. You’d think they were handing out iPods the way those kids swarmed around them 😉 Visiting this village was a really cool experience and one of the highlights of our trip.

Wilhoc Women      Ben Giving Bread

Moray
The ruins at Moray are circular stone terraces that were built into existing natural craters in the earth. They were originally built in pre-Inca times, maybe as long ago as 1000 AD. The natural earth formations have a huge variety of temperatures, depending on the depth and where the sun and shadows fall. One scientist recorded a full 15C (27F) degrees temperature difference between the top and bottom terraces, which is only 30 feet! For this reason, historians believe quite certainly that these terraces were used for agriculture experimentation, sort of like a natural greenhouse. They believe that pre-Incans used this site to develop different strains of Maize (corn), allowing them transform maize into a high-altitude crop, thereby allowing the ancient civilizations to thrive in the Andes mountains. I found this site really amazing.

Ben, Eve, Chris

That’s all for now. I have a lot more stories, but I guess you’ll just have to ask me or Ben to hear the rest 🙂

Comments are closed.