Peru 9

November 8th was a day of errands.  My back has been hurting for the last month, with REALLY sharp pains.  Starting to worry that I may have a kidney stone.  After calling the doctor in Newport Beach and seeing a doctor, here in Cusco, it appears the pain is being caused by the muscles in the area of the kidneys.  The doctor spent about 30 minutes with us for a total cost of 50 soles (about $16.00 U.S.).  The anti inflammatory/muscle relaxant was another $6.00.

We also changed the BMW's oil again and purchased a few more "backup" spark plugs.  Since we have crossed back and forth across the Andes seven times, we have left the jets set for sea level.  We would rather run too rich at 15,000 feet, than run too lean at sea level

We have decided to spend a week or so in Cusco.  It is a very colonial town, with a lot of Inca history.  The "Good and Bad" of Cusco is that it is very touristy.  The Good is there are many nice restaurants and high speed Internet Cafes.  The Bad is that there are many tourist, and the things that go along with that fact (tour busses, street vendors and the inability to take pictures without a tourist walking in front of your camera.).

This is a typical street in the hills behind the central plaza (again, another Plaza de Armas).

It has rained, off and on, for 6 days.  The stones become VERY slick when wet, making downhill braking less that optimum.

The Spanish came to Peru in the 1530's and slaughtered the Inca's.  They tore down most of the structures, but utilized the foundations of the Inca buildings to built their own structures, such as most of the churches.

Notice how the blocks are not rectangular, but frequently have notches, which the archeologists believe the Inca's did to minimize damage during earthquakes.

Another original Inca wall.

Again, notice the notches which would minimize side to side movement.

We live it up every so often.

This is the "MAP", restaurant located in the courtyard of a gold museum.

The restaurant is in a glass cube.

Within 30 minutes of sitting down for dinner, every seat in the place was taken.

Very "Hollywood"!

The main cathedral in Cusco, Peru.

The fountain in "Plaza de Armas".
The Cathedral and the Fountain.
Cheesy attempt to use the Canon camera feature of highlighting a color, and having the balance of the picture come out in "Black and White".
The churches were used to attempt to convert the locals to the Catholic religion.

Trying to make the locals feel as though they were close to the religion, they painted things the locals could relate to.

If you look closely at this 18 by 20 foot painting of the Last Supper, it had Guinea Pig on the platter.

The image is bad, as photos are NOT allowed, and I was unable to use my small tripod (I tried 3 times, and got caught each time).

Cropped shot of the Guinea Pig (Coy).

In the original picture you could also see Mangos, Papayas and Avocados.

This is the common dress of the indigenous of Peru.

This was also the common age that many indigenous have babies. 

She looked to be about 14 years old.

On the 10th, it was time to do a few "Then and Now's" around Cusco.  The first picture was of the Monastery, located next door to the "Hostel Loreto", our home for the next week or so.   

The following picture is from a book called "Adventure South, Three men and a Car Blaze the Pan American Highway Route Down Two Continents to Cape Horn".  It was written in 1942 by Richardson Sullivan.

This was a great book about three guys who drive a 1941 Plymouth on a 9 month trip from Detroit, to the tip of Argentina.  This book has many good pictures of Mexico and South America during the 1940's.  It was another book which motivated the desire to take this current adventure.

The church has just completed a  5 year restoration, financed by Telefonica.  The same company that sponsor many entries in the Paris/Dakar race.  I am not happy with the lighting and will try and take a better picture tomorrow.  The statue, which was originally on the top of the fountain is now missing!  It looks like the park benches are still in the small location!

We visited the Sacsayhuaman ruins, just outside the Cusco city limits.

The rock work here left me wondering how they did it.

You could not slip a business card in the cracks between the stones.

And the blocks are not square.  Some have wavy lines, which I would believe would make it more difficult to grind the stones so precisely.

Kids are cute, no matter what country you visit.
How did they move the rocks?

I sure do not know.

Notice how the rock above Sandy's head is notched to minimize side to side movement during earthquakes.
There are kilometers of walls like this at Sacsayhuaman......
We walked back to Cusco, on what use to be part of an old Inca trail.

More old Inca walls in the background.



The trail drops steeply down into Cusco.
Donkeys roam on their own, all through Peru.

That is not an Inca wall behind Sandy.

The Inca's did not use any mortar!

The following photo was printed in "By Pan American Highway Through South America", by Herbert Lanks (1943).  It seems that 59 years later, the blotches in the grass are in the same places.....  We actually got permission to put the BMW in the exact place as the car, but the altitude and the look walk caused us to take a pass on the offer.....

As the caption to the following photograph states, "there are still stolid Indians and plodding donkeys", in the streets of Cusco.  Again, this picture is from Carpenter's World Travels, Familiar Talks About Countries and People, written by Frank Carpenter, in 1926.

The cobblestone road, under the arch, was going through restoration during our visit.  The balconies visibly through the arch have been removed.

Don't adjust your monitor.  This is a "Black and White" photo, with the greens highlighted......

On the 12 of November, 2005,  we felt as though it was time for a nice ride.  We went east from Cusco, to drop into the Sacred Valley.  Cusco sits at 11,000 feet.  The Sacred valley is approximately 9,500 (much warmer).  This was one of the best riding days of the entire trip.

This is Pisac, which is about 20 miles east of Cusco.

The lines on the far hill are actual ruins of the Inca's terracing, which are still in use today.

Close up of the terraces.

The mountain peaks had snow, the lower slopes were dry, and the valley floor was green......

The picture, below, shows all.......

The village of Pisac is known for their market day, which is on Sunday.

Luckily, we were there on a Saturday.

We rode from Pisac, north through Urubamba, to Ollantaytambo, which also has ruins which are only second to Machu Picchu.

Our goal was to see how close to Machu Picchu we could get on the R100GS.

Another cheesy "Black and White", with the blue sky accented.

Our guide for our walking tour of the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo.
Again, notice the notches in the rocks which minimize side to side movement during earthquakes, in this earthquake intensive area.
The Inca's believed that the "Waters" had spiritual properties.

The fountains were used for spiritual cleansing.

The fountains were carved from large rocks and the flat surfaces were as smooth as a modern granite countertop.

We stopped for a quick lunch in the small Inca village of Ollantaytambo, Peru.

Many of the homes are built using the original Inca walls.

After our visit to Ollantaytambo, we continued northwest towards Machu Picchu,

This is the river Urubamba which flows around the mountain at Machu Picchu.

Also, the railroad tracks of the M.P. trains.

Kids, walking the dirt road and tracks.....

The following picture is of the mountains, just prior to entering the REALLY steep canyons near Machu Picchu.

A river crossing....

She said no...

Sometimes I listen!

Instead of crossing the river, where it was flowing faster than we liked, we crossed this bridge which had collapsed on one side.

They built a ramp to the collapsed side of the bridge.

Our view of Cusco as we returned from our 129 mile ride.

That's it through the 12th of November, 2005.  Machu Picchu is tomorrow............

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