Secluded  Wood  Alpacas

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                                             Our Journey to Peru

Prior to embarking on our new Alpaca Adventure, we decided to take a journey to the ancestral home of the alpaca,

Peru.

(any excuse to travel, eh!)

We started our journey in Lima, Peru's vibrant capital city.

Lima is a modern, bustling city with a Spanish colonial past,

rich in herratage, with great Cathedrals and Museums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Lima it was on to Nazca, and the mystery of

"The Nazca Lines".

The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs that are believed to have been created by the Nazca culture between 200 BCE and 700 CE. In order to see the spectacle of the lines, you have to get high above the desert plateau.

The Peruvian medicine men got high by injesting San Pedro cactus, which contains mescaline,  a potent hallucinogenic.

We got there by going up in a 4 seater airplane.


Once up in the air, the green farmlands soon gave way to the dusty gray of the desert plateau.

And before long the Nazca Lines came into view.


 


Why are they there ?

Offerings to their Gods ?

Ancient astrological maps ?

Signals to aliens ?
or simply visions of stoned medicine men ?

Unable to solve the mystery of Nazca, we continued on our jurney.

 

 

Our next stop was Arequipa, in the shadow of

the volcano El Misti.

 


 

We stayed in a great hotel with a wonderful secluded garden:

La Casa de Mi Abuela

or

"My Grandmothers House"

 

 

 

Next we were headed for a complete change in culture;

Life on and around

Lake Titicaca.

At  3,812 m (12,500 ft) above sea level, it is one of the highest commercially navigable lakes in the world.

By volume of water, it is also the largest lake in South America.


The little town of Puno on the lakeshore,

is where we first encountered alpaca in Peru and saw alpaca garments being made and sold by the local women.


 

 

Just off shore from Puno, and a short reed boat ride away, are Lake Titicaca's unique 

Islas Flotantes,

or

"Floating Islands".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A motor boat ride from Puno takes you to

Isla Taquil,

with a stunning view of the mountains of Bolivia in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neer Puno is Sillustani, a pre-Incan burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo.

The tombs, built above ground in tower-like structures, were built by the Aymara who were conquered by the Inca in the 1400s. The structures housed the remains of complete family groups, probably.

 Puno is an important agricultural and livestock region; particularly of South American camelids (llamas and alpacas) which graze on its immense plateaus and plains.

 

 

From Lake Titicaca, we took the train to a beautiful town

that was once the original capital of the vast Inca Empire,

Cuzco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another trian ride, and we arrived at

Aguas Caliente,

a small village that is the jumping off point for Machu Picchu.

A vigorous hike just outside town takes you to

Putukusi,

a mountain peak directly across from Machu Picchu - for what we were told would be great views of the ancient Inca ruins.

Part way up the mountain side, you could see the village down on the valley floor. 

Did we really hike up this far?!

Along the way were spectacular views of the Andies

with abundant wildflowers dotting this hillsides.

When we finally reached the top, the sight of Machu Picchu was breathtaking.

Early the next morning we were headed out on a bus trip

up to Machu Picchu itself.