Long bus ride to go from Puno to Cusco. Thankfully the Incas and Catholics provided interesting contributions to the trip. First stop in Pukara, was a museum that showed the importance of human sacrifice in early cultures. Then an Inca king put a stop to it. Next was an Inca temple devoted to the Sun God and summer solstice. Finally the Ruta del Barroco Andino church – finished with 24 K gold in a small town.
But first, coffee. And not just any coffee
We stopped at a little town to stretch our legs. Our tour guide walked us to a cafe, insisting we have to try the coffee. He made it seem like a big deal. Their claim was Uchinari coffee – the best coffee in the world. The Uchinari is from the raccoon family. They eat the coffee berries, digest the outer layer and poop out the bean. Mmmm. Espresso was 15 Sol- about 6 bucks. A 125 gram bag costs $100 Sol.
The coffee bar had a rooftop lookout. On one side were the mountains and school kids playing soccer.
The main church of the town.
A community meeting on the steps of the church.
We went to a museum with artifacts from the Wari culture and others. We were not allowed to take photos inside. Outside was a sculpture of E.T. (actually it is a toad).
This is one of the statues we saw. It is a “Cutthroat”. You can see he is holding the head after the sacrifice.
On the way to lunch, taking in the valley scenery from the bus. Even though the bus ride was long, the view kept my interest.
Lunch was a buffet style. Because it is the rainy season the place wasn’t crowded. Plus it is a workday.
They did have the flags out, including Canada. The buffet offered a large selection of salads and vegetable dishes.
This is Raqchi and the Inca city. The Inca king Wiraqocha started the building. Then Pachachutec took over between 1439 and 1471.
It served as a place of worship, but also had houses and places to store food.
These pillars would have had zig zag colored decorations.
The main entrance was for the nobility. On the left would be an entrance for the military. On the right, for the servants.
On June 21, summer solstice. The sun is directly shining on the main path between the two buildings.
When I first entered the sun temple, a guy was taking my photo. Later, as we exited, he presented this caricature. I didn’t want to buy it but my group, bless their hearts, all chipped in and gave it to me as a gift.
These were the Colcas – storage bins for food. There were built to withstand earthquakes with volcanic stone piled together with mud.
One thing to mention is the use of the toilette. Most of the sites charge 1 sol for their use. At this site they issued me a ticket to go in. Thought it may a nice souvenir.
Finally the church of Barroco Andino run by the Society of Jesus. Their mission, when they came, was to convert everyone to Catholicism.
It is a Baroque style with detailing on the front entrance.
Almost the entire church is covered in 24 K gold. With the lights, it literally shines.
The Festival of San Pedro brings a lot of people out from Cusco to view the pageant.
Finally made it to Cusco and our hotel. We are right in the heart of the historic city. The bed was a welcoming sight after that long bus ride.
We went for dinner and a family restaurant called Papa Chos. We were early so able to get a table for 5. Being Valentine’s day, the place was soon packed. This is the Mac and Cheese burger.
The central square.
Houses on the hillside. A perfect, evening stroll after a long bus ride.