Sunday, April 5, 2009
South American Inspiration
My husband knew I had always wanted to go to the peruvian site Macchu Picchu. One of those top 10 in my "bucket list" before I go the big guatemalan market in the sky ! He gave this give to me for my birthday in December so our family went over Spring Break. I spent months prior to departure skimming the Lonely Planet guide (love them) and sites of blogs and the trip advisor. We knew we wanted to hike the Inca Trail and used the professionally run Peru Planet travel group to organize this trek. We used Cusco has our home base and made day trips to the Sacred Valley, Ollantambo, Moray, Pisaq, and then off to the Inca Trail. What a beautiful and challenging hike from KM 104. We had a lovely guide Marco Antonio-very knowlegable about the trail. the history and site of Macchu Picchu. After 7 or so ours of hiking we came to the Sun Gate arriving at the site straight up 5pm-closing time-so the site was soft with pink light, empty and simply magical. the Peruvian ancestors surely return to dance at the site at this time and applaud when they have this site back to themselves. Down below the mountain rages the Urabamba River . the site is enormous and more than I could ever imagined in its magesty. Being an artist I imagine the colors that could have been used but the stone work itself is amazing it is complexity. The trail is limited to 500 eager enthusiasts a day-a goverment implemented program and a great idea. the site is not limited in visitors and we were there at the end of the rainy season-i can only imagine how many tourists are visiting in high season. Regardless of visitors -I easily imagined the place alone and while it was lived in by the Peruvian royalties , the farmers and staff that was neccesary to keep this city going. We returned to Cusco a day to recuperate. The following morning we left by a fabulous bus ride to Puno for our departure town of Lake Titikaka. I had read about this lake and was really eager to visit it myself. Our first stop was the Uros Indians Floating Islands built on reeds from the lake. The indians make everything from these reeds, their homes, artwork and boats. We were greeting by one of the many islands by the happy friendly indians eager to share an hour of their lives with us. Yes we are tourists and sometimes I am happy to give in to it ! They sang a song for us and we sang "Happy Birthday" to them-lead by David-my husband ! they also gave us a display of how their islands were built 3 Meters deep on reeds...adding more fresh reeds as they rot from below. the look out towers were awesome too---looking over the other islands-some in the shape of fish or flamingos ! We road in their reed boat across the lake and i was taken by the people . I imagined them to be small, tiny indians, they were not. They were like fudge colored, bold and beautiful. Brightly colored 6 or more layered wool skirts, round as they were tall and thick hands and feet.. Wow they were incredibly beautiful . The men wore white shirts and pants and hats that looked like they were knitted for infants-nevertheless they were a beautiful match to their women. Some houses had solar panels..very cool. The next vist was to the island was Taquile. A 2 hour boating trip .. We hiked up this island -much larger island and had a great show , dances,songs and weaving displays here. We had lunch overlooking this splendid and enormous lake seeing Bolivia across the lake. We hiked down over the island and back down 500 steps to our boat to return to Puno. Inspiration came from this country not in pieces but as a whole. The people are friendly beautiful and I felt appreciated as a guest to share their country for a short week. I bought 2 pieces of beautiful artwork ....what an incredible trip. I am so lucky.