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Cuzco, Peru

Our flight from Arequipa left early on Tuesday morning flying through a town called Juliaca just near Lake Titicaca (we managed to book on the right day this time!). The view from the plane coming out of Arequipa was absolutely stunning as we flew between two 6000m+ snow capped volcanoes. We were forced to have two days of easy going as we picked up a bit of a stomach bug in Arequipa.

Our arrival in Cuzco was nothing short of whirlwind. Our flight left Arequipa at 8:00 and by 10:30 we had booked into a hostel, and booked three tours for the next three days with an ever so friendly travel agent. It all seemed a bit pushed upon us, but we didn´t get anything that we weren´t after anyway and the price was reasonable.

Cuzco is an interesting town. It is in a valley totally surrounded by close mountains and at night when standing in the Plaza it looks like jewels all lit up around you. That said, we would probably like it a lot more if there weren´t so many pushy restaurant touts and people selling crappy textile goods from finger puppets to drink bottle holders. We cannot walk or sit for more than 30 seconds without being approached by someone wanting our money. There are lots of very steep cobblestone streets and the town is really set up very well for tourists.

Yesterday afternoon we did a tour of some churches (both Inca and Catholic) in town and some Inca ruins just outside the city. Simply breathtaking standing next to a 130 tonne block of granite that had been carved, polished and moved 17km into place more than 500 years ago.

Today we did a full day tour of the sacred valley culminating with a visit to Ollayantambo which was a Inca fortress and city about half way between Cuzco and Machu Picchu. The 240 stair climb to the sun temple at the top was worth it simply to marvel again at the engineering feats of the Incas. It became fairly obvious to us when we saw it just why the valley was sacred to the Inca (and pre-Inca too) as the valley is very long, wide and fertile at the base in a landscape dominated by the steep volcanic Andes.

Tomorrow we are off on a train to Aguas Calientes just below Machu Picchu to take in the Sacred Valley some more and then head up to Machu Picchu on Saturday. Cath has wanted to go there since she was about 12 years old so the anticipation is palpable.

Talk to you all in a few days time!

Andy & Cath.

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on April 19, 2007 from Cuzco, Peru
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
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Can't wait for the next entry and wish I was there too.

permalink written by  Matt.Y on April 19, 2007

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Join us on our journey to our wedding and our 2-month South American honeymoon. We will be married on 31 March 2007, in Narooma Australia and are honeymooning through Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina in April and May 2007.

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