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« Pronate | Main | Peru Day4 - Machu Picchu »

Peru Day 5 - Cusco to Puno by bus

Finally after another fortnight, managed to get back to the photos and videos from the Peru trip! Family thinks it will be December by the time I get to Day 6 and the last day of the trip to this blog.. 

It has been a busy two weeks with work, yoga and things happening at home, thanks to some really heavy rain. 

The previous post on the series is here..

This time we start with the family portraits.. we got two on a 12 hour day. The first one was taken at the Raqchi ruins and the second one at Raya Pass.

Day 5 started okay. No waking up early for the kids. We had a taxi waiting to take us to the bus stop and once there we waited for everyone to load their suitcases into the bus. After a 30 minute wait we were off to Puno from Cusco. 

We had a nice driver, a tour guide and a lady who was serving coca tea and coke pepsi to the folks at regular intervals. The ride was 11+ hours at least, with 6 stops every hour and 15 minutes to hour and a half. That made the ladies very happy!

Our first stop was an amazing church built in the 1600's. There was no photography allowed inside. It is the most beautiful Church I have seen to date. Maybe the sistine chapel will top this when I get to see it someday. 

Every wall, every piece of the ceiling was covered with amazing art work. There were strategically placed mirrros everywhere that took sunlight from openings high up and reflected them everywhere to create a disco light effect. Locals who visited it for the first time probably just kneeled down and bowed their heads to this magnificence. I sure did!

We also saw the amazing scenery around the church and watched the dozen or so stray dogs outside for a good 15 minutes while waiting for everyone to come back to the bus and we saw a "Bajaj Auto". I was telling the kids "that is an Indian Auto". They agreed it was an auto but did not think it was a Bajaj.. 

Then we moved on to another place with a small museum of sorts that showed the history of the region between Cusco and Puno over time. This place had some mummies of royalty who used to compress their skulls and they had elongated skulls! I thought this was a hoax. Apparently it was very much in vogue 600 years ago.. 

 The first skull had a line across it.. the second one didnt. There were lot of photographs of other mummies that showed same thing. 

Like the display of the 100's of potato varieties in a previous museum, this one had corn varieties that grow in Peru. It was impressive. 

Then there was the usual jewelry and how they make it with natural materials show.. we got used to this one after three of these show rooms. 

The next stop after this was a rope bridge in another ancient city. The wife and kids decided to stay in the bus. I walked over the bridge and got some shots with a Japanese family while the rest of the bus visited the biggest attraction after a 90 minute ride.. aka restroom at Checacupe!

Apparently this was fixed after the original bridge collapsed. Still it was a neat experience. They are still excavating the place to find more ruins..

After this we went to the ruins at Raqchi. It was made of mud bricks and stone. This time they had figured out how to make the mud bricks stronger by mixing human and animal hair and feathers into the brick. The Incas had figured out "composite materials" by trial and error and perfected it enough to have a mud brick structure that was 50 feet tall stand for 600 years! 

There are more photos of Raqchi in the galleries..While coming out of the place saw this flower. We used to have a lot of flowers in our house. Thanks to the construction work, we have lost most of them. Watching a single plant with a flower when there was rocks and ruins everywhere made me smile!

We wandered around the shops outside the little museum and bought some local jewelry. 

It was back on the bus to our next stop.. Lunch! It was a beautiful drive with farm lands, grazing alpacas, waterfalls.. just frame after frame of beauty!

After lunch we were told to take a nap. It was going to be some serious driving along mountain passes and we would stop at the highest pass... we saw some wild alpaca, llamas and vicune on the way..

and we were there! 

and the locals had set up shops ready for the buses! They added color to the scenery..

Didn't even have to edit these photos. Most of them are just cropped. Next to Manali, this is the one place that makes me think beyond god!

We were given 20 minutes at Raya pass to take pictures. Then we were off to Pukara, which was the last stop. 

This place had a civilization before the Incas in 400 BC based on the finds. It was interesting to see three layers of excavations. There was an amazing church here as well but it was closed for visitors. There was some big peacock like native birds which were far away on a window making loud calls (got it on video). 

The tour guide gave us an elaborate explanation of what was going on in Peru with all the excavations, how they are now open to tourists etc. etc.. In short it was a "Make Peru Great Again" speech. 

We saw the museum, the ruins and finally made our way to Puno. We went through another big city 30 minutes before Puno called Juliaca, where the local airport was. I finally proved to the family that the autos were indeed Bajaj autos. We saw a few hundred of them on the roads there! 

It was late in the evening when we made it to our hotel. We had a couple of hours to explore the town square.

Then it was time for a good rest before we had to get ready at 6:30 for another interesting day.. 

Day 6 was going to be Lake Titicaca and a visit to the Isla de Tequile.

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