Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Inca Express to Cusco

After returning from staying on the islands in Lake Titicaca we spent one more night in Puno and then took the "Inca Express" bus to Cusco. This bus is a special tourist experience and well worth the money. It makes stops along the way to see some pre Inca and Inca ruins as well as some Colonial churches.
An excellent buffet lunch is provided mid way. Of course there are multiple opportunities for shopping as well. Women in native dress are at every stop in numbers with a variety of hand made souvenirs. I was a goner for the toy dolls and llamas for example.

We were up early that morning as we had taxis ordered for 7AM to take us to the bus stop. As usual the staff downstairs at the Don Julio Hostal in Puno were totally disorganized. We had ordered breakfast the night before specifying the time. Still one plate at a time came out (and one cup
of coffee, even worse), so the last two people had to share one set of eggs and bread. This place ranks way down on our list of hotels (see future blog entry on this subject).
The bus was very comfortable with an english speaking guide and a stewardess. Our first stop was Pucara; 107 kilometers from Puno where we visited a small museum with a few of teh best pieces from the ceremonial center of the Pucara people (300BC - 300AD), one of Titicaca's earliest civilizations, which show clear links to the Chavin culture (the time line in the photo shows world historical events and Peruvian civilizations existing at the same time). This connection with the larger Chavin culture is shown in the Decapitator deity otherwise known as "degollador", represented in the museum with a large statue in very good condition and several others
in fragments. Across the street was a lovely Colonial church, Iglesia Pinon de Pucara (an interior shot is shown here).
Next was the highest point of our trip, La Raya (4321 meters) where the snow capped mountains competed with the vendors for beauty.
We were already for lunch by this time and stopped in Sicuani for a great meal in a sunlit pretty restaurant with courtyard seating. Look for a future blog entry on food in Peru - it's excellent! More to come on this one, but I'm off to the airport.

No comments: