2011 Machu Picchu Peru and Cusco Peru

(8/7/2011 - 8/16/2011)

Will MacDonald, Lia MacDonald, Katherine Chung, and Brian Wilson (me!) travelled to the ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru.  On this web page you can find some photos and notes from the trip.  Since Machu Picchu has been photographed over and over again by professionals (and I'm just a dork on vacation with a digital camera) I couldn't contribute much.  So these are random notes about visiting Machu Picchu without putting in too much effort (no need to hike the Inca Trail for 4 days anymore!).  Click on any photograph for the very highest quality "original" version that exists.  Everything on this web page is free, it isn't what I do for a living, this is just for fun!

Here is the schedule as it worked out for us:

8/7/2011 - Sun - Depart San Jose 18:20, arrive LIM (Lima, Peru), then thru to Cuzco, Peru (CUZ) by 11:25pm
8/8/2011 - Mon - Land in Cuzco 11:25 a.m. Check in to hotel Casa Cartagena.  Cuzco is at 11,500 feet altititude, we wandered around the main square near our hotel.
8/9/2011 - Tue - Katherine was affected the most by altitude sickness, she took headache medicine (advil) and slept.  Will, Lia and I wandered around.
8/10/2011 - Wed - Hiram Bingham Train from Poroy to Macchu Piccu 9:05 am - arrives 12:24 - check in Sanctuary Lodge, ran through ruins with guide for 3 hours.
8/11/2011 - Thu - Will and Lia climb Huayna Picchu, then we all return to Cusco on  Hiram Bingham Train 17:50 arrives 21:16 - check back in hotel Casa Cartagena.
8/12/2011 - Fri - Short 4 hour guided car tour of Cusco.
8/13/2011 - Sat - Just hanging out in Cuzco - eating, drinking, shopping, and city tour (it doesn't make sense to fly home this day as it cost $5,000 more for flights without the Saturday night overstay)
8/14/2011 - Sun - 9:35 flight (CUZ) to (LIM) arriving home near midnight on Sunday.

In the area immediately surrounding Machu Picchu (starting at the Machu Picchu ruins) there are 3 or 4 very interesting hikes.  A strong hiker can do two in a day, an average American should plan on one.  :-)  Here are the hikes you can Google: summit Huayna Picchu (2 hours round trip from main Machu Picchu ruins), reverse hike the last section of the "Inca Trail" to the "Sun Gate". Near there is a route over the "Inca Bridge".  There is one other?

Random notes on altitude sickness: Machu Picchu itself isn't that high at 8,500 feet altitude, but the town of Cusco is pretty high at 11,500 feet.  In advance of showing up, I took the drug Acetazolamide for 24 hours in advance and the next two days after arriving. I'm pretty sure it helped me with adjusting to the altitude, and it definitely had a side effect of making some food an especially sparkling water taste funny.

You can Click Here for a Google Map I created of the interesting locations on this trip to Machu Picchu and Cusco and Peru.


The Pictures:

We flew business class for the main leg of the trip from Los Angeles to Lima, Peru.  Below Katherine is checking her iPhone messages worried she might not be able to get them for the next week.  But as it turns out, Machu Picchu and Cusco Peru have EXCELLENT cell phone coverage, we had WiFi and cell messages a higher percentage of the time at Machu Picchu than with AT&T's crappy network in San Francisco.


This might seem like a ridiculous amount of legroom, but the seats go fully horizontal to sleep in.


Will and Lia in the picture below, our travelling buddies.


Will and Lia clowning around before the flight leaves, showing the fully horizontal seat positions.  I can't figure out why the four of us were the only people smiling and playing around in business class?


Here we are changing planes in Lima, Peru in the airport.  We had to pick up and drop off our luggage something like 5 times on the full round trip, and the only reason it wasn't more is they lost our luggage on the way home for an extra five days.  When it finally arrived, it had the absolutely correct and original barcode luggage tags on it, and clearly it was printed that it should have arrived in San Jose, CA, USA five days earlier.  I cannot imagine what the excuse for that is?   In the picture below you see the cute doggies the airport security keeps for pets.  By the way, they get angry at you if you pet the doggies.


Here we are rechecking our bags for the 3rd time on this trip in Lima, Peru.  The bags need to survive one last hop from Lima to Cuzco, Peru.


This is a container of confiscated stuff the airport security did not want going onto the airplane.  Click on the picture below to zoom in, the gun cracks me up.


Action shot walking down the jetway on our final hop to Cusco, Peru.


Here we are getting off the small plane in Cusco, Peru.  The airport in Cusco is RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the city, the city sprung up around it on all sides.  Cusco is about 400,000 people and is at about 11,500 feet.


Waiting for our luggage in Cusco, Peru, this is the main baggage claim area.  It is filled with touristy type advertisements. 


A little booth sold OxiShot (Oxygen in a cannister).  I have no idea if this is effective, Will and I bought it because it was funny and not very expensive ($5 for supposedly 8 liters of oxygen).  I'm not sure it wasn't just compressed air.


Below was a booth in the airport selling tours.


We took an "official taxi" from the airport to our hotel.  Here are some action photos.  Everything in Peru seems to be covered in light covering of dust, and a little dingy. 


Random street on the way from the airport to our hotel in Cusco, Peru.


You can see the hillside behind the flags.


Later we toured the castle/cathedral below.   The Museum below is the Museo Del Sitio de Quorikancha (Korikancha?).  The history behind this location is pretty interesting.  In the 1400s the Incas built a sanctuary here dedicated to the Inca Sun god Inti and covered all the walls with gold leaf.  When the Spanish conquered this area in the 1500s, they used that as a foundation and built up the large structure on top of it seen below called the "Convent of Santo Domingo" (not to be confused with the Church of Santo Domingo in the main square).  The "Convent" was a place of learning and recorded history.  When we toured the inside we saw examples of all of the periods of construction.


When we arrive at our hotel (Casa Cartengena in Cusco Peru) they spent a couple minutes preparing our rooms, so we killed time in the lobby by assembling and breathing out of our OxiShot cannisters.  Will assembles one below.


Here Will is breathing out of the OxiShot canister.  We have no idea if this actually contains enough oxygen to help with altitude sickness.


Because it was amusing, we bought these oxygen cannisters at the airport.  Below is a (silly) 15 second movie showing us killing time waiting for our hotel room to be ready and breathing the oxygen out of the cannister. We are all a little goofy after flying 20 hours down to South America.  Click Here for a QuickTime original movie of higher quality (WARNING: Windows users probably cannot play QuickTime!!)


What also (supposedly) helps with altitude sickness is Coca Tea seen below in our hotel in Peru.  It is very simple: just the raw leaves from the coca plant in hot water.  This is the same exact leaves that can be processed into the illegal drug cocaine, but that is a complicated chemical process and involves a TON of leaves to produce a small amount of the illegal drug.  This tea is totally legal and supplied in the hotel lobbies, and after drinking three cups I couldn't even feel any "coffee like" stimulant effect at all.  Overall, a bit of a disappointment once you are used to a daily Starbucks Grande Latte. :-)


For the afternoon, we walked from our hotel to the Main Square (Plaza de Armas)  in Cusco, Peru which was convenient three block walk.  The "Main Square" in many South American towns is called the "Plaza de Armas" (Square of the warrior).  Wikipedia tells me this is because the Spanish military conquered the towns and laid them out in a grid fashion with one vacant "square" in the grid.  In the picture below you can see the street going downhill to open up onto the main square.


Looking back up from the same spot to Will, Lia, and Katherine walking down.


Below is a pretty decent panorama of the main square in Cusco, Peru, although you can find better by Googling it.  The main cathedral in the center of the picture below is the Cathedral of Santo Domingo in Cusco and at the far right of the picture is another church called "Inglesia (Church) of La Compańia on the Plaza de Armas in Cusco Peru".


In the main square, there were a LOT of police around at all times of day or night, we always felt very safe in Cusco night or day, especially around the main square.  Below you can see a police officer zooming around on his Seqway Scooter.


At night, the view from our hotel window.  The bright white spot on the roof is a kitty cat walking across the roof.


The next day we walked about the main square area again.


We went to one of the many second story restaurants on the main square, and Will ordered the Cuy Chactado (Fried Guinea Pig) which is a famous dish here available in more than HALF the restaurants. I had Alpaca (it is much like a Llama but a little smaller).  Notice the guinea pig below comes whole, sitting on the plate.  Guinea pigs are much like a lobster or crab, it seems the normal amount is one per person.  There isn't much meat on them.  I love the look on Lia's face below.


You can see my alpaca steak below.  The alpaca tastes like "white meat pork" to be honest, not bad at all.  I had some of Will's guinea pig and it was heavily spiced, but pretty much tasted like a rabbit or chicken.


Everywhere I looked in Peru were combinations of really REALLY old technology sitting beside new technology.  The "bricks" below are made from mud and straw!  They are being hauled in a modern Toyota pickup truck, and are probably being used to build an internet cafe.  Peru is a place in transition right now.


Below is an arch at one corner of the main square in Cusco, Peru.  This is called the "Arco Santa Clara in Cusco Peru" (you can see from a plaque on the arch).


In this random picture, notice the hats.  The Peruvian women wore the craziest collection of hats, everywhere we looked we saw hats.


Wandering around, we went into this "open air market" inside a large warehouse type shelter.  They sold dog food "by the scoup".  We found out from a guide later that the "stray dogs" we see everywhere are taken care of and well fed by three or four houses and allowed to run free of Cusco.


Random market scene in Cusco Peru.


The signs below kind of bother me, and this is AFTER I had some of Will's guinea pig.  :-)  I think they are supposed to be looking delicious, but the one on the left is especially disturbing to me, it looks like the guinea pig is coming back from hell to attack me.


Very colorful fabrics and clothing available for sale in the market.


Random outside street, people would sell some things on the street, some are legal (like the alpaca wool yarn shop below), but others would get rousted by police and have to leave if they just setup their wares in the street to sell.


That is Will on the steps below.  We toured this Convent of Santa Domingo twice, once without a guide, and later with Katherine along with a guide.  (It is a short 20 minute tour.)


Question for the reader: are those goats or sheep the little girls and Lia are holding?  Either way, their business was to get you to take a picture, then they would negotiate a "tip" for the service.  The Peruvians were always polite and nice about it, but the little kids could be a little pushy (if amazingly cute at the same time).


Will is looking at a skull on the wall in one of the neighborhood bars around our hotel (we think the skull is a fake made up of parts of several animals).  We got to be friendly with a guy who works (owns?) here we called "Dr Jeffrey".


The next morning we packed up and headed for the main event of seeing the ruins of Machu Picchu!  There are three main ways to get to the ruins: 1) walk for 4 days on the Inca trail, 2) take a cheap train, or 3) take the Hiram Bingham Orient Express train.  If you have the money, I HIGHLY recommend the Hiram Bingham.  The names comes from the explorer who "discovered" Machu Picchu.  I put "discovered" in quotes, because there were people living there at the time!!  It is sort of like Columbus "discovering" USA with native Americans living there at the time.  A more politically correct summary would be Hiram Bingham "promoted" Machu Picchu to the West and led several archeological digs there.  Anyway, if you go by the Hiram Bingham train, the one fee includes a brand new branded "bag" to pack an overnight change of clothes in, it comes with a guide to walk the ruins with for a few hours, and it comes with several meals and complimentary cocktails and tea time.  Basically you buy a train ticket and don't have to worry about anything else.  Below are our bags still at the hotel.


We aren't "roughing it" at all on our expedition to Machu Picchu, here is breakfast of coffee and croissant and sausage.


We hired a guide service to fill in several missing pieces of our whole trip.  Below they gave us a ride from our hotel to the Hiram Bingham train station (it departs from a subdivision of Cusco called "Poroy" a 25 minute drive from the main square of Cusco). 


On the drive in the van from Cusco to Poroy where


This is the Hiram Bingham train station in Poroy, Peru. 


The Hiram Bingham train.


This is the inside of the train.  Very comfortable, the train takes about 3 hours to get to the ruins of Machu Picchu, and you have a meal or two on the way all included in the price.  White table clothes, and a guide for every train car to answer questions and then walk with you around the ruins.


At one point here the train must climb 20 feet or so along an embankment.  The location of the train switchbacks is here. It does this by going through some switchbacks "see sawing".  The train goes past the switch, the flip the switch, the train goes in reverse up the ramp, then past a second switch, and so on.


Random pictures of farmland along the Inca Train from the Hiram Bingham train.


The Hiram Bingham train crosses a river, so I can get a classic picture of the train going around a corner.


Through the train window while crossing the river.


Everywhere I looked, Peru has ancient terraced technology intermixed with modern.  Below you see Inca Peruvian terraces and a modern power line in the foreground.


There is no fence between the cows and the train.


People living along the side of the river and train tracks in ancient terraced areas and modern power lines in Peru.


Random (very pretty) valley in Peru.


At one point we had to pull our train onto a side track so that the "poor people's" common train could pull by.  I'm glad I'm not stuffed onto that train with those people.


Continuing along, you can see the "Inca Trail" from our train window, and see some people hiking on it in the picture below.


Some people hiking the Inca trail are seen below.  I wonder if they knew they could take a train with running water, clean toilets, and be there in 3 hours?  Instead these people walk for 4 days, don't take any showers, and watch the train zoom by.


The terraces had a certain type of "steps" I want to point out.  The put long rocks sticking out at the correct locations.  See them marked below.



In the picture below, the steps go all the way down the terraces to the river as a pretty good staircase.


As we get closer to Machu Picchu, you can see other ancient ruins on the hillsides.  Here is one below, and a modern construction house also in the picture.  This is taken from the Hiram Bingham train in Peru.


After the 3 hour Hiram Bingham train ride, we get off the train at around noon in the town of Aguas Calientes, Peru.  The town is about 2,000 feet directly below the ruins of Machu Picchu.  The town changed its name to "Machupicchu Pueblo" to capitalize on the tourist trade and be more memorable, but everybody still uses the original name "Aguas Calientes" as of when we visited in 2011.  From here we take a 20 minute bus ride up some switchbacks to the Machu Picchu ruins.  Below is a picture out the front of the bus.


It is a gravel road, I think it is "private" and only tour buses go on it, below is a picture of the road.


The road is basically a single gravel lane, and it is a BOUNCY ride, the bus driver we had used Jesus as his co-pilot to help his survival rate driving this road up and down 20 times a day.


Almost at the very top of the switch backs, you can see the train station in the far far bottom of the picture below.  This is the view out the bus window, if the driver veers off the road, there is nothing stopping the bus from tumbling down the mountain a few thousand feet into Aguas Calientes.


Below is a (boring) 20 second movie showing a little of the bus ride from Aguas Calientes up 2,000 feet in altitude and a bunch of switchbacks to the ruins at Machu Picchu. Click Here for a QuickTime original movie of higher quality (WARNING: Windows users probably cannot play QuickTime!!)


This picture was taken later from the ruins, but below you can see the gravel switchbacks the bus drives up and down to the ruins.


IMMEDIATELY at the entrance to Machu Picchu is the hotel "Sanctuary Lodge at Machu Picchu".  We hopped off the bus, checked into our rooms where we would stay for one night (see picture below) then ran out onto the ruins with our guide from the Hiram Bingham train.


This is the view from the deck in our room, you can see the Huayna Picchu peak as the prominent peak in the distance.  The FOLLOWING morning Will and Lea climbed that peak, but for now we just toured the ruins.


Another picture, same perspective as the last picture, just a little more out on our small deck.  The hotel rooms were small, but the hotel overall was quite nice and is the ONLY choice at the ruins.  It made for great early starts for hikes in the mornings.  Honestly as pretty as the view was, we never hung out on the deck because just 100 yards away (just out of sight in this picture) are the main Machu Picchu ruins worth exploring.


Right past the front desk of the hotel are the "ticket gates" to entering the ruins at Machu Picchu, Peru.  Below Katherine goes through the ticket gate.


The path just past the entrance ticket booth.


A couple minutes later we reach the ruins.  Below is Katherine and Brian (me) with the Machu Picchu ruins behind us.  We're standing on the green terraced Inca garden steps.  The tallest peak just behind the ruins is Huayna Picchu.


Brian's quick summary of the Machu Picchu ruins: the Incas never had a written language, so nobody really knows what the ruins were.  Archeologists think they were built during a 100 year period of time starting in the 1400s.  They were suddenly abandoned, nobody really knows why.  "Nobody knows why" is a common theme at Machu Picchu.  Regardless, most people (myself included) are impressed at the stonework that has lasted 500 years.


Our guide "Carlos" is on the right with the umbrella and backpack.  Carlos is part of our Hiram Bingham train "package".  In the next 4 hours, Carlos walked us around 6 or 7 of the top "features" archeologists have found interesting or puzzling about the site.  If you wanted to save some money, you can read any guidebook and get the locations and lists of the features and skip hiring a guide, but it was convenient and nice having Carlos walk us through the ruins.


Yet another picture from closer.


Lia and Katherine.


Brian and Katherine.


Brian and Katherine.


Brian and Katherine.


Below is a picture of the very final end bit of the "Inca Trail" that ends at Machu Picchu, Peru.  You can walk the entire Inca trail in 4 days, Will decided to just walk the last 100 yards and claim a fast victory.  :-)  You can see the stone work is pretty amazing for 500 year old construction.


There are TONS of tourists swarming over the ruins everywhere you look in Machu Picchu.  Below is a picture.


Most of the ruins are "original", but some thatched roofs have been rebuilt as a museum of sorts.  At the top of the picture below you can see a little pointed house with a finished thatched roof.


Lia and Carlos standing on the far right of the picture.


The terraces where in every direction, the entire hill had been terraced.  Nobody is certain why, probably to prevent erosion and to allow for farming.  But it seems like a huge amount of effort to build such permanent structures.


Alpaca or llama (not sure which, they are not quite the same) wandered around the ruins.  I think these are to keep the grass mowed and for tourists to pet.


Chinchilla lived on the walls in the ruins.  You would miss them if you didn't look closely.   Below is a zoomed in picture of one.


There are at least two chinchillas in the picture below, maybe more.  It is also an impressively large Inca rock wall with no mortar. 


Maybe three chinchillas in the picture below, on a large 500 year old Inca rock wall.


Final chinchilla picture.


Carlos explaining the windows and the large rock wall.


We have no idea what the heck the Incas were thinking when they built this stuff, but there are clues.  Below you can see some "rock eyelets" they built into the permanent rock walls, these make it convenient to tie rafters up there then built thatched roofs, or at least that is our best guess what they are for.


I need to look up what the picture below is all about.  Something about windows letting in the sun at the EXACT winter solstice and interesting stuff like that showing the Incas weren't just savages rooting around in the dirt for food (as if the massive rock walls weren't proof enough).


Below you can see one of the quarries where the rocks were mined, split, shaped, and carried away to their final destination in the walls.


You can't tell from the picture, but this wall is about 8 feet high, which means these shaped boulders are MASSIVE.  The "space" to the center right of the photo between several rocks is from earthquakes in the last 50 years.


Panorama.  On the left is the rock quarry.


Looking the other way.


A zoomed in shot of Hauyna Picchu's very summit.


If you look in the picture below where Lia is walking, if she trips she goes over the edge of the cliff.  Very few handrails and some deceptively dangerous moments you should be careful.


The "entrance" the the hike up Huayna Picchu is at the far side of the Machu Picchu ruins away from Sanctuary Lodge.  Will and Lia are going to hike up this peak you can see below from this gate tomorrow morning, so Will is trying to figure out the rules and system.  We got a permit a few days earlier, they only allow a few hundred people to hike up Huayna Picchu each day.


A little further on is the famous "Condor Stone at Machu Picchu, Peru" seen below.  You can google it, nobody is sure what it was for or why.


Archeologists found some mummies buried in this nicely finished crypt.



The very next morning, I got up to see Will and Lia off to their climb of Huayna Picchu (the close peak in the center of the picture).


We aren't roughing it by any means, below is the breakfast at Sanctuary Lodge at Machu Picchu to get ready for the 2 hour climb.


You can also order other things off the menu.


A picture of the main dining area at Sanctuary Lodge.


Will and Lia get in this line to gain entrance to the Machu Picchu ruins.  They also have a special pass to gain a SECOND entrance up into Huayna Picchu.


Panorama of the courtyard in Sanctuary lodge.  I'm staying in the second room from the left in this picture.


Here is a nice spot to watch Will and Lia summit.  I have my bottled water, wine, binoculars, choice of two WiFi access points.  It really is not "roughing it" to come to Machu Picchu.


That probably isn't Will and Lia in the picture below, I just wanted to zoom in and point out some people on the summit of Huayna Picchu.  This picture taken from the courtyard of the Sanctuary Lodge from my reclining chair.  It was only limited due to a pathetic 4x zoom on my camera!


I wanted to capture the room service menu at the Sanctuary Lodge at Machu Picchu, click on the picture below to see some choices.  Lia got a massage later, you can order food, etc.


Up above our room and behind it 30 yards on the hill is a hot tub that overlooks the ruins of Machu Picchu and especially sees Huayna Picchu.  The previous night we reserved it during sunset and took a Jacuzzi here.  That little box is a telephone that you can order up free drinks they will bring to you.


The path leading to the hot tub up in the jungle on the side of the mountain.


A little waterfall on the path leading to the hot tub.


A nap later, Katherine and I ate lunch and walked out amongst the main ruins to take it in a little slower this time.


The entrance turnstyle.


A body stretcher sled they probably use to recover tourists with broken legs sometimes.


The view of the town of Aguas Calientes below from the ruins where we are standing above.


Katherine demonstrating the rock steps jutting out from the rock walls.


Check out the swarms of people all over the Machu Picchu ruins in Peru.


This is looking up past 20 terraces.  Each has a grass horizontal span, but this angle hides most of that and just shows the sheer amazing amount of rock wall the Incas built with 1,000 men and 100 years of effort.


A thatched roof (added as a museum).


We hopped back on the Hiram Bingham train that night, here Will and Lia are showing their photos from Huayna Picchu to us.  Amazing!


On the Hiram Bingham they have a "bar car" that had live music, on the way home to Cuzco (away from Machu Picchu) it developed quite a party.


On the way back to Cusco from Machu Picchu on the Hiram Bingham train, the "bar car" had live music and complimentary drinks.  Below is a 15 second movie clip showing the happy tourists.  Click Here for a QuickTime original movie of higher quality (WARNING: Windows users probably cannot play QuickTime!!)


Back in our "staging home" of Cusco and specifically the Hotel Casa Cartegena.  We stayed in room 16 when we returned, they said it was a "free upgrade".  Room 16 is *amazing*.


Below is the front door to room 16.  I can't even find a room number on the door.  That entire glass front enclosed balcony is part of our room.


Below is the enclosed glass balcony at night.  This is just the BALCONY, the lighting is wonderful.  There are two doors to our room because it is actually a "suite" with a master bedroom and second bedroom.


This is the main bedroom in room 16.  That is a jacuzzi behind the white separator.


Picture of the jacuzzi.


The rooms come with optional supplemental oxygen.  You have to ask, and they "claim" to turn it on at the front desk for $10 / day.  I really doubt it does much good at all dissipated in the large room.


There is the oxygen tap on the wall of our gigantic room 16.


This is the guest room, as in the SECOND BEDROOM in our gigantic suite.


Some candles.


The palatial bathroom in room 16 of Hotel Casa Cartagena in Cuzco, Peru.



If you click on the picture below, you can read the room service menus.  There was also a fully stocked minibar. 


The next morning, here is the buffet breakfast served for all guests.


The complimentary Coca Tea to help with altitude sickness.


The buffet breakfast comes with various eggs and meat, and you can also order more things from a menu.



Lia with her cappuccino and Will reading his iPad over WiFi in Cusco, Peru in the morning.


A picture of the main courtyard of Hotel Casa Cartegena in Cuzco, Peru.


We took a personal van tour of the city of Cuzco with a guide this day to kill some time.




At night you could always see the "White Christ" (Cristo Blanco) on the hill overlooking the town of Cuzco, Peru.  They light it up brilliantly at night.  Here we visited it during the day.


A view from the White Christ pointing out the main square and our hotel.


Will in front of the White Christ.  I think the sunglasses are a nice touch.


These Peruvian ladies would let us take pictures, then ask for tips.


Lia with an alpaca or llama (don't know which) and a short Peruvian lady.


Cute Alpaca with colorful ribbon in its hair.


We toured Sacsayhuaman (also known as Sacsayhuamán, Saksaq Waman, Sacsahuaman or Saxahuaman) which only the bottom 1/3 remains.  This is a ruin at the outskirts of Cusco, Peru.  The Spanish used the top 2/3 of this ruin as raw materials to build their cathedrals in the town of Cusco, Peru.  Below is a picture of most of the ruins.


That is me (Brian), I'm 6'3" tall.  The Incas built this 500 years ago, notice the amazingly well fitted yet GIGANTIC blocks of stone. 


Another random picture showing scale.


A bunch of people facing the rocks of Sacsayhuaman pushing their faces up against it.  Our guide says some people think this brings them good health or power or some such thing.  I'm worried the rocks didn't work for the Incas too well when the Spanish conquered them with modern technology, I'll stick to computers, airplanes, and science thank you.  :-)


A map of the full Sacsayhuaman archeological site.


Back in Cusco Peru main town square, my favorite police on their Segway scooters.


Here we are driving down a really narrow street in Cusco on our tour.


In Cusco, there was a famous artist by the name of Hilario Mendivil Velasco.  He stretches the necks of his sculptures.  We toured his workshop that his family still continues his work in.


Some work on display.


The famous twelve sided stone in Cusco, Peru.  Amazing stonework to get it to fit. 


After our tour, a lunch in a Peruvian restaurant in Cusco, Peru.  From left to right Brian, Will, Lia, Katherine.


Will wanted a picture of his food.












All done!

Below here are notes about the trip, not for you, for reference for me (Brian) in the future:

8/7/2011 - Sun - Depart San Jose 18:20, arrive LIM (Lima, Peru), then thru to Cuzco (CUZ) by 11:25pm
8/8/2011 - Mon - Land in Cuzco 11:25 a.m. Check in to hotel Casa Cartagena.  Massages, rest, optional 1/2 day city tour.
8/9/2011 - Tue - Full day tour of Sacred Valley, 2 1/2 hours driving each way, or full day rafting trip (9am - 3pm)
8/10/2011 - Wed - Hiram Bingham Train from Poroy to Macchu Piccu 9:05 am - arrives 12:24 - check in Sanctuary Lodge
8/11/2011 - Thu - Climb Huayna Picchu, return on  Hiram Bingham Train 17:50 arrives 21:16 - check back in hotel Casa Cartagena, Cuzco
8/12/2011 - Fri - Hang out, or white water rafting all day?
8/13/2011 - Sat - Just hanging out in Cuzco - eating, drinking, shopping, and city tour (it doesn't make sense to fly home this day as it cost $5,000 more for flights without the Saturday night overstay)
8/14/2011 - Sun - 9:35 flight (CUZ) to (LIM) arriving home near midnight on Sunday.

Wikipedia page on Machu Picchu

CDC recommended travel vaccines http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/peru.aspx (typhoid, yellow fever, Hep A/B, Rabies).  CDC says Limo and Machu Picchu are too high to have Malaria.


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