Puno (Peru) to Cusco (Peru)
11 MAY 2015 – 13 MAY 2015
I wasn’t entirely present for our stay in Cusco. Whatever virus or food poisoning had attacked me in Puno had somehow lay dormant for a day and then attacked me once again with a vengeance through various ‘outlets’. Perhaps I was ambitious in my desire to defeat this interloper, notwithstanding, it was cunning in its continuous deception, biting back and causing nuisance at regular intervals.
Cusco, the once mighty Inca capital sits at an elevation of 3400mtrs, not quite where La Paz is situated in terms of altitude but high enough to literally be breathtaking. Of course it’s the gateway to the fabled citadel of Machu Picchu which lies some 80kms to the north-west. The city itself is cloaked in Inca legend. Legend has it that the Sun God directed Manco Capac, his son, to go and find an area of land of fertile and good quality. This he was able to do and this is the place that become the capital of the Inca Empire for some 300yrs.
Machu Picchu - I was finally on the way
The city is built in colonial style but still contains many pre-Columbian structures, a reason as to why is became UNESCO heritage listed in 1983. With that said, I can say that I didn’t fully immerse myself into the city and was only capable of moving in small, non-expansive circuits where the proximity to a bathroom was equivalent to personal safety. In my down time however Inga did manage to do a lot more exploring especially around Plaza de Armas, the place where Francisco Pizarro proclaimed the lands for Spain after capturing and killing the Inca emperor Atahualpa.
We did however manage to organise our ‘expedition’ to Machu Picchu from here. Not via the well known Inca trail, or in fact other trails that are now being utilised for 3-4 day hikes but via a simple mini-van through the Sacred Valley. The trail itself has been placed on a ‘bucket list’, to come back to at the right time. Still, one of THE highlights of the South American continent was only a few short days away. The burning question, would my body be in order to make it there?