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Table of contents
Week 1 - The arrival and Quito
Week 2 - Still in Quito
Week 3 - Last days in the Quito area, time to get moving…
Week 4 - Tour to the Galapagos Islands!
Week 5 - Cotopaxi - Banos
Week 6 - Moving forward south
Week 7 - on my way to Peru
Week 8 - Trujillo - Chan Chan
Week 9 - Moving south to Lima!
Week 10 - Macchu Picchu and the Inca trail
Week 11 - Cuzco
Week 12 – Lake Titicaca, Lima, Home!
Intruduction – The journey of my life.
So at last I have the opportunity to make the journey of my life, I’ve thought about this for a couple of years but it has always been something that stopped me, particularly the money, but now when I have been granted a scholarship because of my victory in the south America jeopardy in our school won’t that be any problem anymore.
The Destinations that should be visited by me is Ecuador and Peru. So since I do know quite little about these two countries, actually a bit weird I know, I won a south America jeopardy but don’t know much about the two countries that I’m going to visit, but there’s an explanation; the questions were mostly about Brazilian football which is my area of questions. So I have to do some research and planning before I can go.
First of I made a packlist:
• 2 toothbrushes and two packages of toothpaste
• A digital camera, batteries, battery charger
• Mobile phone, battery charger
• Mp3 player, battery charger + extra headphones
• A package of y3
• 2 Towels
• 7 Pair of socks and 10 pairs of underpants
• 3 Pair of shorts
• 5 T-shirts
• 1 Shower gel/shampoo
• 1 Gillette fusion + 2 extra blades
• 1 Deodorant
• 2 Packages of sun protection
• 1 Pair of Brazilian flip-flops
• 1 Pair of sneakers
• 1 Sweater
• A flashlight
• A protection net against mosquitoes, flies and so on
• Travel alarm clock
• Swiss army-style penknife
• Toilet paper
• Insect repellent
• Spanish wordlist since both Ecuador and Peru is Spanish talking countries.
After that I went to the doctor to ask if I need any vaccine, and he said that following vaccines was recommended to take:
• Compulsory vaccine in both countries is vaccine against yellow fever
• Other recommended vaccines are; polio jab hepatitis A and B, lockjaw, malaria and cholera Also recommended is protection against the mosquitoes.
I don’t need to bother about requesting for visas since I don’t should stay longer than 90 days when a visa is required.
I have been told that the best time to visit these countries is during January-April as the climate is the best time to visit these countries so that will be the time when I’ll do my trip.
I have great expectations about this journey; first of all I want to experience what South America is like. And I absolutely want to see a lot of amazing places I’ve only heard about and watched on the TV. I mean who haven’t dreamed about visiting the Galapagos Islands or walk the Inca trail? Anyway I hope this can be the trip of my life. I thought it would be perfect to start it in Ecuador so December 31 I’ll pack my bags and fly to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and then the adventure starts! I hope I won’t be eaten.
So now I’m standing here at Arlanda after a bus ride of six hours from Örnskoldsvik and I’m impatient to get on the aircraft! Which are taking me to the airport in Quito, Ecuador. And the start of my great journey!
Week 1, the arrival and Quito
The first thing I recognize when I’m out of the plane is that people from Ecuador is very polite. The second thing is that people are very anxious to sell things to everyone that isn’t from their home-country. But that doesn’t bother me a thing, I’m really exited to finally start my trip
International Airport Mariscal Sucre
After a very long journey, I step out of the aircraft at the International Airport Mariscal Sucre.
I can say it was a really amazing feeling to go from snow and -27 Celsius to the more human-friendly temperature 20 degrees plus. After the arrival I had to find the place where I should stay for a while – Hostal Galeria, a nice and cheap hotel.
To the fantastic voice of some exotic birds I wake up to my first day in Ecuador and its second largest town and capital Quito. After the breakfast I desire to take a walk to see some of what this town can bring. It’s a nice atmosphere I’m facing, a mix between hackneyed charm and decline. I can see a lot of squares, white buildings, churches and some of the 1.2 million people in the town who wants to polish your shoes for a penny. Quito has also a lot of colonial architecture.
This day I have decided to visit the famous church Basilica del Voto Nacional which lies in Quito city.
As you can see on the picture it’s really amazing when you get there and get your first view of it…
But it’s when you get inside it, the funny part starts.
It’s not just a church - you can climb around inside everything and above the ceiling of the church and up crazy ladders and into the bell and clock towers. Very cool experience, and awesome view of Quito. Unfortunally I wasn’t able to take any photos from inside.
On a note I can read this about this church: The idea of the construction of the Basilica of the National Vow was conceived by Father Julio Matovelle, when he was a Congressman in 1883. This Priest is also the founder of the congregation of Oblate Religious Women and Oblate Missionaries in Ecuador. Its implementation was authorized by decree of the National Assembly on February 29, 1884. And the blueprints were made by the French Architect Emilio Tailer. He charged 40,000 francs and it took him approximately six years, from 1890 to 1896 to finish it. The first stone was placed on July 10, 1892. Mary''''s Immaculate Heart Chapel was built from 1892 to 1909. The Basilica is 150 meters long, 35 meters wide, 35 meters high in the Central Ship and 15 meters in the votive chapels. Its towers are 78.23 meters high, 73 meters in the dome, 16 meters by 45 meters on the base of the towers. I has 7 access doors: 3 in front and 4 on the sides. It also has three solid crypts and the Pantheon for the Chiefs of State.
Today I watched a soccer game at Atahualpa Stadium, between Deportivo Quito and El Nacional Quito.
Deportivo Quito won the match with the score 3-0 and I was very pleased, I didn’t think I should be able to watch any soccer games here in Ecuador. But before the game I was able to have a guided tour inside the arena, and here on the picture is myself and it’s the janitor that has taken the photo. Very interesting I have to say as the football lover I am.
Tonight salsa was on the schedule, I heard that a place called Sesiribó, it was really nice, two big dance floors.
This weekend I was pretty exhausted after a hectic week so I decided to just chill on the beach and walk around in the town and have a coffee on some of Quito’s many cafés.
Week 2, Still in Quito
During the weekend I came up with the brilliant idea what to do this week. I’m going to the Otavalo markets.
Since the busiest market day is on Sunday and I’m, well I don’t give very much for crowdie places so I thought Monday would be good.
After an approximately three hours buss journey from Terminal Terestre de Cumanadà in Quito to Otavalo, I’m pretty curious to visit this market that I’ve heard so much of.
You get a lot of impressions when you get there, that is for sure, a lot of unfamiliar scents and views, and you can find almost anything here particu larly hand made things! By 9 am, the activity moves to the hundreds of handicraft booths spread through the downtown. The center of the action is the "Poncho Plaza," but vendors extend out for several blocks in all directions. Almost any craft item produced in Ecuador can be found in Otavalo, but the specialties are the colorful textiles (blankets, ponchos, sweaters, tapestries, hand bags) produced in the area. Other good bets are musical instruments (charangos and zamponas—pan pipes), ceramics and hats (panama and felt).
Actually if are going to visit the hand-craft area is the tip that you spend the night in Otavalo, but I didn’t do that because I was there more to watch than buy. One thing that’s certain is that you have to bargain, it says that you should begin 25% lower than the asking price and then go from there. After a hard day it’s time to go home again to Quito.
This week I also went to the town Equator 15 kilometers from Quito, the easiest way to get here was to jump on a green bus which takes me all the way to the monument. Equator is a small city that owes its name for the fact that it''''s fount in the latitude 0°, reason why a commemorative monument of 30 meters of height has been built. In its superior part, there is a 5 tons globe. One of the attractions and mysteries of the city Mitad del Mundo, is that during the equinoxes (21st of March and 21st of September) people and objects do not project not even the minimum shade. Mitad del Mundo Quito Ecuador. It was a nice place to visit, and a feeling yes! I have been at the equator.
Week 3, last days in the Quito area, time to get moving…
I recon that I’ve stayed quite a long time in the Quito area, but I realize that it’s because a lot of the things I want to see is near the capital. Anyway this week I took a trip with a local bus to what they call Plaza de la Independencia or independence square.
Independence square is the Ecuadorian equivalent of the Capital mall, a very clean and impressive open space within the city. It''''s flanked b y the presidential palace, city hall and a neoclassical cathedral, but the central monument is the most compelling feature of Independence Square. The independence square also marks the center of colonial Quito.
The last thing to do before moving forward to another place is to enjoy the nice atmosphere here in Quito and enjoy the nice people and the nature. To be
Week 4, tour to the Galapagos Islands!
So now it was time for the greatest highlight on my entire trip! Galapagos the home of many unusual animals, beautiful nature: everything that’s perfect if you want to go on a honeymoon. Anyway it was at this place Charles Darwin came up with his theory of his most contrayed theory, the one that says that mankind origin from the monkeys.
Charles Darwin came to Galapagos 1835 and after his observations he came up with his theory about evolution – the origin of species.
A bit confused he had realized that all finches looked a bit different from each other; depending from which island they lived on. The same thing applies other species. So he realized that the best adapted survived, and transports its “extra good” quality. For instance, a cactus on an island had a seed which were a bit harder to crush. The ones who lived were the birds with a little bit more sturdy beak and could crush the shell. And then those who lived had birth and they had the same quality. – It’s not the strongest one that survives it is the one who is best adapted to the environment who will live. On Galapagos you can clearly see signs of evolution when you’re travelling between the islands, the small differences between sea leguans, between turtles and especially between Fringillidaes on the different islands.
Galapagos Islands were discovered in 1535 because a bishop from panama who were heading for Peru but told his ferryman the wrong direction. After that, the Islands became a sanctuary for pirates. 1832 did Ecuador put their hands on the Islands. The name of the Islands comes from the Spanish word for Turtle – galápagos. Many of the Islands have both Spanish and English names.
1959 did the Islands official become a national park.
I have decided to go on an 8-day tour with the beautiful boat Flamingco!
My fantastic trip to Galapagos started with a flight from Quito airport to Galapagos Island Baltra. Then after some hours of waiting we took off again with another plane, this time to Santa Cruz…
Santa Cruz is an Island with a lot of birds, (I don’t like that fact) and it was also here Mr. Darwin developed his thoughts about evolution, by studying the animal that as I said before has given Galapagos its name – the galápagos turtle. Here in Santa Cruz you can also find the headquarters to the world-renown Charles Darwin Research Station.
You can go there to learn about the island''''s flora and fauna, and local conservation issues. The highlight of the Station is its tortoise breeding program, with 150-year old Lonesome George as its poster tortoise. Poor George is the last of his species and to the chagrin of the Station''''s biologists, he has no interest in the perky females (of a closely related sub-species) let loose in his pen. The younger tortoises seem to find the Station a perfectly adequate environment for romance, as the Station''''s repopulation program is continuing strong after five years. Walk around the Station and see tortoises of all ages starting at two weeks old.
Journeying across Santa Cruz into the Highlands you are delighted by the island''''s variety of life and geology. Beginning at the coast and traveling across Santa Cruz the road departs from Puerto Ayora climbing through the agricultural lands and into the mist covered forests. Santa Cruz possesses all of the various life zones present in the archipelago. As you travel through these zones birders are enchanted. Whether it''''s the bright red feathers of a Vermillion Flycatcher or one of Darwin''''s Finches almost every bird present in the islands can be found here, and I’m not really sure I like it, birds are evil creatures.
I realized that Santa Cruz offers excellent opportunities for viewing wild tortoises. As you walk through the forest, listen carefully for the sound of heavy foot steps and the sound of shrubs being slowly crushed as the tortoises make their way through the brush to enjoy a meal.
Tracking tortoises is not the only interesting thing to do in the Highlands. There are also plenty of lava tubes, sinkholes and craters to explore. Their eerie formations offer a fascinating hike into the belly of the island to view its volcanic make-up. I guess Stig would have loved to be here.
Ràbida- Puerto Egas
This place was kind of a nightmare for me because one thing that I fear the most is birds and
Rabida is a bird-watchers delight. Some of the rarest species are in abundance, such as 9 varieties of finches, large billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans. The dark red sand beaches (which Ràbida is known for) and a horde of snoring sea lions make for spectacular snorkeling. Also, the island is home to the skinny legged Flamingo, which can be seen in a salt-water lagoon near the beach. So I was glad we didn’t stay here for more than one day. Enough
Bartolomè - Puerto Egas
Here is where you''''ll see the most photographed view of the islands walking about 600 meters to the summit of the island. The walk is surreal, taking you through recent volcanic eruptions and Mars-like landscape, really cool I must say. It''''s a walk through evolution, comparing the beginnings of Bartolome to the more developed islands in the Archipelago. During the walk up you get nice chances to see hawks, pidgins and finches. On the top of one of the summit I watched an old salt mine which lay there in the 60´s. The crater is really cool.
This is a great snorkeling spot as well due to the abundance of underwater rocks and formations, but I didn’t do any snorkeling because I thought it would be nice to do the rest of the trip in one piece, not inside the stomach of a shark. Here I saw penguins, sharks, rays, sea stars, flounders and an array of colorful tropical fish. The beach is accessible - no angry sea lions to contend with, and a great place to relax after a long day.
North of Baltra (the first town I flew to when I went to Galapagos) is the small islet of North Seymour. The two islands are very similar in appearance both created from Geological Uplift and having typical arid vegetation including Prickly Pear Cacti, Palo Santos Trees and Salt Bushes.
The visitor trail on North Seymour are approximately (2 km) in length crossing the inland of the island and exploring the rocky coast. Along the way the trail passes colonies of Blue-Footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigate birds.
The Magnificent Frigate bird, a large black bird with a long wingspan, and a hooked beak, is extremely fast and has excellent vision. Frigate birds are known for the large red pouch on their necks. During mating season the males thrown back their heads, inflate the pouch (sometimes to the size of a soccer ball I’ve heard), and shake trying to capture the attention of female Frigates. I think that trail was a nice walk after the walk up the mountain the day before. It was nice to just walk quite relaxed and watching the nature around me. And
it was on this island I ate one of the most tasteful “meals” on my whole trip, I had the most extraordinary good sandwich with meet from a Galapagos raised chicken, salad and a delicious curry-dressing. Nice!
South Plazas - Santa fè
On the fantastic island plazas I meet mighty sea lions again which shows their muscles in the water. And it’s here you can find the spectacular land-iguana which lies resting under the huge fig cactuses. You can often see huge pelicans fly close to the cliffs. In Santa fè there are two walking routs to choose from; Either you take the easier way and watch ten meter tall cactuses or you choose the other option which is a bit longer and more eventful way to see some animals. If you take the second path you can meet the land-iguana you see which is to see nowhere else on earth, and you can also snorkel with sea lions.
Of course I took the second one, ‘cause who didn’t want to see the iguana! So after some struggling through thin paths our group reached a huge pool. And then we saw them, the gálapagos iguana! An amazing animal.
Like all iguanas, are vegetarians, subsisting mostly on the fruit and pads of Opuntia cactus. It is not unusual to see them sitting under a cactus, waiting for pieces to fall.
Punta Plazaz and Comorant
Well I have to say that after Santa fè I was kind of bored or perhaps less impressed when I came to the last two places on my Galapagos tour. On Sunday I was at Gardner bay which gives another opportunity to sunbath with the sea lions. And that’s what I did as well.
And the last stop was at the so called post office bay and the devil’s crown in Punta Comorant. (the island Floreana) At this stop we went up to the Devil''''s Crown which is a half-submerged volcanic cone, considered to be one of the most outstanding marine sites of the Galapagos Islands. And after that it was time to send some postcards from the post office bay. The cards are transported by boat from there to the closest place to pass them on to a flight to where they should get.
Darwin station – transfer to baltra airport.
So now was my Galapagos tour over for now. I slept until we reached the airport.
At 16:46 I reached Quito Airport and from there I took a cab to the same hotel I lived at before.
Week 5 – Cotopaxi - Banos
So now it was time to move forward. I took farewell of the nice people at the Hostal Galeria and then I got on the bus to the next place on my trip.
On my way to Tena we did a pit stop 50km away from Quito at the largest volcano in Ecuador Cotopaxi (5897m)
We stayed and took some pictures.
I asked an inhabitant about the volcano and he told me that it has a width of 23 km and that it has been over 50 eruptions since 1738. But last time was 1904.
I stayed at a very nice hotel for its price here in Tena. Its name was Hostal villa Belén and was located north of the town. (Walking distance)
Well Tena is kind of the first step into the Amazon jungle but since I don’t have any real interests to get eaten by some evil frog, I decide to stay in the city and just a short way away from Tena.
Tena is also known for the Jumandi caves which lie six km north away so I thought that could be a nice journey for the day.
It started with a 10 minutes long bus ride with a guide some other people and myself. We arrived and started to go down the path and reached an entrance to the caves. When we had been there for a while the guide said that we were heading for some sidetracks. Well that could be fun was my first feeling. But I was quire wrong, because now the meaning of claustrophobia was given a new meaning for me. That plus the fact that we were invaded of vampire bats gave me enough reason to get the hell out of there.
Time for dinner at the hotel and I order something that looks nice on the picture on the menu. But when I later get my food I realized what I’ve ordered. I had ordered Guinea pig. I didn’t know what to do, I was starving so I took a piece of it and it didn’t taste as bad as I thought but there’s nothing I ever will eat again.
After the well, different experience with the food I moved forwad to a quite big city called Banõs. Baños is located on the northern foothills of the Tangipahoa volcano. It is named after the hydrothermal springs of mineral water located around the city. The city is also a Roman Catholic religious center, as some Catholic believers say that the Virgin Mary appeared nearby a waterfall. So a sculpture of the virgin, called Virgen de Agua Santa was placed in the cathedral.
Baños is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ecuador and is well known for the mom-and-pop stores where they sell taffy (Spanish: melcocha made from cane sugar and for the excellent small arts and crafts shops, a favorite spot for tourists. Anyway I thought it would be nice to watch some waterfall. This is the waterfall Agoyan. Really mighty to watch.
Week 6 – Moving forward south
After some really nice nature experiences it was time for me to move further south. I passed Riobamba which you can do pretty much the same as in Quito, there are museums, climbing, shopping and so on. I stayed here for one day to explore the city but that’s not really the main reason why I decided to spend time in Riobamba it was my curiosity to try climbing and that despite I’m afraid of heights. So I asked another passenger on the bus if he knew any good climbing tours. And he answered my that if I’m going to climb I should call Alta Montaña.- Climbing, cycling, trekking, volcano watching, horse riding and birdwatching. Address: Av. Daniel L. Borja 35-17 and Diego Ibarra. Tel & Fax: 942215. Seemed a bit hard to remember so I wrote it down. Anyway, I called him and asked for price and we agreed on a reasonable price.
We drove away to a nearby mountain and well we started of directly with climbing the mountain. It wasn’t extremely high but enough for me. It took the other brave climbers and I a few ours to get to the top but it was worth it the view was incredible.
After that we went back to the city to have some dinner, I was offered guinea pig but this time I refused to eat that, a nice hamburger was good enough for me at the nice resturant El Fogón del Chef.
After that I got on the last bus for the day from Riobamba To Cuenca, via Alausí with CTA (7 hours, US$6).
Cuenca- last stop
My last days in Ecuador which was spent in Cuenca and on a bus I thought I should just be like a usual tourist and just chill and walk around in the “Athens of Ecuador” with its around 300000 inhabitants. Cuenca is by the way the third biggest city of Ecuador.
When you walk around in Cuenca you realize that the culture and history is very well retained, everywhere you see churches and other historical things. The city is classified as a world heritage just like Höga kusten.
I was tipped to go on a thing called Church tour which should be a visit to all the churches in the whole city but I felt that I’d seen enough of them here in Ecuador so I thought I should just wait to see what the evening might bring.
Some Australians I met at the climbing and I went to a place called Bohemia drinks, which lies right in the middle of the town. Well At this place we danced and had some really great drinks.
Week 7 – on my way to Peru
After saying goodbye to the Australians I had to pack my backpack to get on the bus who was taking me to the border of Peru and Ecuador. I can say
In Peru it was three official languages (Quechua (official) Spanish (official) Aymara (other), but lucky enough I could make it with some homemade Spanish and English.
Finally I did get away from Ecuador which was a really nice journey to make. Now I had come to Trujillo. The first thing to do in the morning when I wake up at hostal colonial is to go to the casa de la Emancipación to change to some noevo sol’s which is the currency of Peru.
Trujillo is a city in northwestern Peru. It is located on the lower Moche River, near its mouth on the Pacific Ocean. Trujillo is the capital of the La Libertad Region and is the third-most populous city in the country, behind Arequipa and Lima.
The city is noted for its colorful colonial architecture, with buildings painted in bright blues, yellows, reds, and oranges. A circular street called Espana encloses the center of town, and most of the interesting city sites are within this ring.
After changing some money I think it’s time to explore some of what Trujillo can give. I decide to hang around my hotel which lies in the colonial blocks. There’s a lot of churches and other buildings as well, in this area of the town and I must say it was worth to watch. Unfortunally there are no fixed times when they’re open but I was good with only watching the outside. The one that I found most beautiful was Casa de la Emancipacion, and that is also where Trujillo’s independence was formally declared on December 29, 1820.
Another building which is worth to see is the Casona orbegoso, it’s named by a former president in Peru and it is a beautiful 18th-century mansion with collection of art.
After that I’m hungry as hell so a visit at 24 horas is very welcome.
Another day of my visit in Trujillo I took the opportunity to go to one of the museums it was called Museo Cassinelli which is a archeological collection in the basement of a gas station. One reader points out that collection such as these consist mainly of looted archeological artifacts. When I visited I found the gas station without any problems and spotted several pots and other pieces through the windows. I went inside and asked to see the collection and was told to wait a few minutes. I looked at the displayed pots in the garage office and wondered if this was it. After all what could I expect in this oily garage? After a few minutes, however I was led through a locked door, down the stairs and through another locked door, this one heavily armored. On entering the basement I was very surprised to see hundreds of ceramics piled up on shelves that filled the room. The curator showed me dozens of his favorite pieces. Among the most interesting are the whistling pots, which produce clear notes when air is blown into them.
Week 8- Trujillo - Chan Chan
Chan chan is placed in the Mochevally at the sea very close to Trujillo. Its name is Chan Chan but before it got that name it was called Jang-Jang which in Chimu means sun-sun.
Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimu Empire. Thanks to its size and its importance of being a capital in a important and rich kingdom has Chan Chan been interesting for travelers and researchers for a couple of centuries.
Chan Chan lasts of 10 royal blocks. Back in the old time they always abandoned one block when the king died, then they built a new one for the new king. If you walk around and watch all of them like I did, you can see that they all are similarities between all of them, for instance they all were big class differences, and there were various areas for rich and poor. And when you get to the area where the king lived – you know it. The royal quarters were for instance protected with high walls and they have only one entrence which made it hard to control in and out passage.
The most known palace in Chan Chan was also the coolest to visit; the Tschudi pacalce shows the meaning of the water, especially the sea, and the religious cult which existed in the Chimu culture. Paintings on the walls show fishes turned to both directions (north and south). I’am told that this represents the two water streams which flow along the coast of Peru. The paintings also show waves, birds and fishnets. Anyway this was the highlight so far in Peru.
Rest of this week I took the opportunity to learn some surfing at the beach at the Golden club hostal. I can say it weren’t a waste of money but there are things that I’ve had easier to learn I must admit.
Week 9 moving south to Lima!
After a least uneventful weak it was time to move farther south and was really pleased with the Trujillo visit! I took the “long distance bus” heading for Lima which is the capital of Peru.
As I said Lima is the capital of Peru and it’s also here the president of the country Alan García lives. Politics in Peru takes place in a framework of presidential representative democratic republic. The president is both head of state and head of government, of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the congress. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
The Republic of Peru is in a state of ongoing democratization. Led by Alan García, the executive branch is attempting to be transparent and accountable. Previously a rubberstamp body, Peru''''s unicameral Congress is emerging as a strong counterbalance to the once dominant executive branch, with increased oversight and investigative powers. The executive branch and Congress are attempting to reform the judicial branch, antiquated and rife with corruption.
As I understood it, is the main goal for the government to get the economy stable and make a lot more working opportunities, actually that is pretty obvious that they’re struggling for that, I mean who wouldn’t. It is also what the president promised before the last election, so the people won’t be happy if it isn’t done.
The President of Peru is popularly elected for a five-year term, and the 1993 constitution permits one consecutive re-election. All citizens above the age of eighteen are entitled and in fact compelled to vote. The first and second vice presidents also are popularly elected but have no constitutional functions unless the president is unable to discharge his duties.
The President appoints the Council of Ministers (Consejo de Ministros, or Cabinet) and Prime Minister (primer ministro). All presidential decree laws or draft bills sent to Congress must be approved by the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister of Peru is Jorge Del Castillo
The legislative branch consists of a unicameral Congress (Congreso) of 120 members. Elected for a five-year term by proportional representation In addition to passing laws, Congress ratifies treaties, authorizes government loans, and approves the government budget. The president has the power to block legislation with which the executive branch does not agree.
I’m staying at the hostal España which is an old mansion full of plants, birds and paintings. This is also a favorite place for backpackers. The owners doesn’t let Peruvians stay here, it’s only for travelers. Accommodations are basic but clean and safe.
This week was the market on the schedule. I went to the main market which is called Lima’s Mercado Central. It wasn’t as big as the Otavalo markets in Ecuador, but you can buy almost everything here to! It was everything from meat to flowers. Everywhere it was people trying to sell stuff. But if I compare with for instance Turkey where the salesmen on the streets almost force people to look and buy their products. It’s not the same at all, or well of course there are some which is very eager to sell things but usually they’re just standing there and show what they’ve got.
After that I took a swim at Playa Costa Verde, had some food and explored some of the night life in Lima before it was time for bed.
Week 10 –Macchu Picchu and the Inca trail
This week it was time for the other big highlight on this journey, and it is of course machu picchu and the inca trail since I’m in Peru. So the first thing to do before was to find somewhere in Lima when I could buy a guided tour for a couple of days. I found a company called Lima tours where they offered a good route. So first the buss to Cuzco which took like seven hours but I didn’t suffer from them because I took the opportunity to sleep to be well prepared for the next coming days. After that I spent the rest of the night in a bed at the cheap hostal Resbalosa.
Day 01 – Cuzco - Huayllabamba
At 6:30 am our guide picked us up from our hotels and we were transferred by bus to the km 82 where we arrived at approx. 10.30 am Here we met those who were supposed to be our team that was with us all the week. It was the porters, camp assistants and cooks.
The first day was a quite easy walk and during the first kilometers we had a really beautiful view of the snow peaked Veronica Mountain, walking alongside the Vilcanota River until we arrowed to the Archaeological Complex of Patallacta, where we had lunch and gained energy to reach Huayllabamba, where the first camp was set up.
DAY 02: Huayllabamba – Pacaymayo
After breakfast, the second day hardest part of the trail begins, with a steep ascent, followed by 3 hours walking until reaching the first step, called Warmiwañusca (Dead Woman) this is at 4,200m the highest point on the Inca Trail. I think they pose here especially for tourists as I''''ve seen a number of pictures since I''''ve been back that are remarkably similar to this one! This part of the day in particular was tough - it''''s another hike in the altitude which doesn''''t help, and it was very hot and exposed so the sun can really take its toll here if you''''re not careful. I still think personally, that on balance yesterday was harder - perhaps it was the constant staircase that did for me. I''''m obviously happier on a gradual gradient!
You will not only enjoy incredible panoramic views from here but you will also have the satisfaction to have reached the top. After lunch in Vizcachayoc we will descend towards Pacaymayo (3500 m.a.s.l.) for dinner and camp.
Day 03: Pacaymayo - Wiñayhuayna
After breakfast the ascent begin until the second most important step of the route, up to 3900 meters above sea level, where we enjoyed a guided visit in the Archaeological Complex Runkurakay. (funny name I must say).
After Runkurakay we walked further to the Inca Citadel of Sayacmarca (3,600 m.a.s.l.).
Sayacmarca is a large Inca municipality at the top of a mountain with steep hundreds of meters down the vally. The stair system makes the community easy to defend. A nudge from a nudge from a “side pocket” and a not wanted guest sails down to eternity in the rainforest. Here you can’t find any rails or protection. Our guide told us to have a closer look of the Inca people’s ability to get huge boulders together without bindings. I you just have to admire it! An earthquake just puts the pieces crawls closer to each other and the building is strengthen.
With my legs swinging over the edge to a communication spot along the trail we boil pasta and drinking boiled melt water. The heat was really oppressive and the sun was strong. I think the third day was the toughest day after all… But day wasn’t over.
We continued walking towards Phuya Patamarka (Town in Clouds), another important archaeological monument. After a brief break, we will continue walking until arriving at Wiñay Huayna (Always Young), where the night should be spent.
Day 04 – D-day Machu Pichu!
After breakfast (05:00 approx.), we started walking for one hour by the forest until the Inti Punku (Door of the Sun), known like the front door to Machu Picchu. When we came there it was sunrise and that was probably the most beautiful view a human being and other creatures as well, could see in the whole world!
Here we have the impressing view.
The guide told us the history of Machu Picchu and it was something like this:
Machu Picchu is a well conserved mountain city. It’s called “The lost city of the Inca’s”. We get to know that we have gone 80 km since we started Machu Picchu lies 80 km northwest of Cusco. The city deems to be developed by the Inka Indian Pachacuti. Some sees Pachacuti as the saver of the Inka Empire. Anyway the city was built around 1440 and was occupied until the Spanish conquest of Peru 1532. Archaeological finds shows that it wasn’t an ordinary town but some
kind of countryside foe the Inka and the court, with a great palace and a temple. It’s estimated that it could maximum have lived around 750 persons in the town. The spot where it’s built seems to be chosen because of its unique position and geological conditions; it’s built on a 500 meter high mountain peak, with steeps all around. I promise I stayed away from the edge. Further he tells us that Machu Picchu was abanded by the Incas and was “forgotten” probably because of it didn’t filled any function after the Spanish capture. Then he told us a thing that really surprised me; and that thing was that it was rediscovered 24 July 1911 of an historian from England.
We were standing at Intipunti, the sun gate, and studied all the beautiful things that made us walk over three severe days. In the shine of the sun we walk inyo Machu Picchu. The sun-temple constitutes the highest point in the society. Here we watched the Intihuatans stone, a wale formed cliff boulder which also is a sun watch where the Inca priests welcomed the sun. The first sun beams reaches the peak of Wakaya Wilka, breaks on the altar-stone and creates a triangle which in the middle has a carve which should symbolise the eye of a puma. This is impressing since this phenomenon just happens once every year, and the Inca’s made their calculations without modern instruments.
It was at this place the historian Hiram Bingham stumbled over the ruins of the old Inca town 1911. He was searching for Vilcabamba, the last Inca hold who Pizzaro never found.
Our guide tells us that the Inca Indians built their whole culture on hierarchy this is also clear in Machu Picchu. The lower regions belonged to the farmers, and the higher up at the main plateau was home for the aristocracy and there they had unbelievable view out over the deep valley.
Around the high plateau does the terraces roll, bound by meter high walls. These walls are made in stone and were built to keep the damp in the earth during the dry periods.
As our guide told us Machu Picchu was built in hierarchy and according to the archaeologists, Machu Picchu was divided into three great sectors: the Sacred District, the popular District to the south and the District of the priests and the Nobility (royale zone). Located in the first zone are the primary archaeological treasures: the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Colors and the Room of the Three Windows. These were dedicated to Inti, their sun god and greatest deity.
In the royalty area, a sector existed for the nobility: a group of houses located in rows over a slope; the residence of the Amautas (wise persons) was characterized by its reddish walls, and the zone of the Ñustas (princesses) had trapezoid-shaped rooms.
The Monumental Mausoleum is a carved statue with vaulted interior and carved drawings. It was used for rites or sacrifices.
After this anecdote were are able to struggle around all by our self until a bus picked us up and drive us to Aguas Calientes for dinner and after that we returned to our hotels in Cuzco by train. Machu Picchu was absolutely the highlight of my entire trip!
Week 11 – Cuzco
After last weeks experiences my two last weeks were left. And since I aldredy were in Cuzco I thought that would be a good place to stay some days.
Cuzco was really cool! Machu Picchu in all glamour but it was Cuzco who was the capital of the Inca Empire. Cuzco lies 3400 meters above the sea level, the air is pretty thin and you have to be careful so you don’t get strucked by the soroché, height sickness. One of the days when I were struggling on the streets I saw a hotel which is called Loreto which summarizes the history of Cuzco pretty well. The fundament to the hotel is an impressing 3 meter high inca wall with its characteristic and perfect suitable rock boulders. They were built with such precision that not even a knife point is able to stick between the boulders.
The superstructure is colonial patricier house which the Spaniards and their offspring built directly on the wall. If you walk around in the town as I did you can see that these walls are all around the town, just like Machu Picchu.
It’s the contrasts between the Inca culture and the Spanish conquers which is the most remarkable thing in Cuzco. South of the city does the Jesus statue crowds with the most important fortification Sacsayhuaman. In the cathedral hangs a painting of Jesus and his last meal where they are eating guinea pigs – yes that’s true there are more than just the Ecuadorians that eats them.
In the evening one night I went to the place where all gather every night, Plaza de Armas in the middle of the city, the square has the same name and same central position as all other Peruvian cities. But in Cuzco it’s bigger a lot bigger. The Indians where wearing colourful ponchos. They share their chichi, corn floor. The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic, very unlikely the picture many people has got from the civil war in Peru.
It is foremost around the little green fountain where the Cuzco people seem to gather to discuss their everyday life. There’s a funny history about this fountain which I did get to hear when I said something like that the fountain was beautiful. It was an old inhabitant that told me, some years ago the fountain wrecked and when a plumber was up to fix it, he found three fist sized lamas in pure gold!
The last day I rented a horse and rode up to a spot above the city. You get another perspective here above. The city is built on a small mountain plateau along a valley framed by on uninhabited plateaus and snowy peaks. Here, some hundred meters above the city is the air thinner and fresher. And everything you carry out is going slower. I pass small houses, tame lamas and sheep who gladly yield away for the bigger horse.
Week 12 – Lake Titicaca, Lima, Home!
Next morning it was time to say farewell of Cuzco which was together with Machu Picchu a really amazing experience.
I’m going to go by train and it’s not just an ordinary boring rail.
In this spectacular rail journey the train makes a gentle climb up to higher and cooler altitudes. On the first half of the journey I get to see a lot of the great Andean mountains. The Andeans towers over the deep valleys of the meandering Huatanay River. It then reaches the gentler, rolling Andean plains where alpaca can be seen.
On the train I was tipped about a hotel named Avenida el Sol which should be good so that’s my choice of hotel.
First I thought that I should go for a guided trip but pretty soon I realized that I wasn’t sure if the time would reach. But as compensation I took a one day tour to the Taquile Island. The day trip started with a boat fare from Puno where my hotel lies. The fare is circa 40 kilometers and takes aprox. 2,5 hours. On the boat our English guide told us about Lake Titicaca:
Lake Titicaca is the biggest lake in South America, on the border between Peru and Bolivia. Its greatest length is 192 km and it has a width of 50 km in the middle. But the thing that is remarkable is that it lies on a height of 3812 meter above the sea and are with that the worlds highest located sailing able lake.
Further he tells us that the lake is divided in three parts:
The main lake with an average deep of 100 meters (maximum deep is 281m).
Punobay; located in the northwest, bound to the lake by a 6,5 km wide strait between the capes of Capaca and Chucuito. And the last part is called the little lake also known as Wiñaymarca, located in the southeast.
Most of the areas is to the biggest part vase vegetation and has a rich birdlife with 60 different kinds. The lake is present suffering of growth of large amount of guama, a water plant with long roots.
Now we had arrived to Taquile. The island is on the Peruvian side of the lake and ca 1700 people lives there, which is 5.5 by 1.6 km in size. The
Taquileños run their society based on community collectivism and on the Inca moral code "ama sua, ama llulla, ama qhella" (do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy). The economy is based on fishing, terraced farming hor...
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