|Peru - 1999|
Easter 1999 saw us leave for an unexpectedly strenuous fortnight in Peru. It really was 'all go' - but enjoyable nevertheless!
After a day in Lima we first flew south to Arequipa where an overnight stay at 7,700ft was a useful aid to acclimatization. Arequipa is a 'white' city, being built largely of the local white sillar volcanic rock. It is surrounded by three spectacular mountains including the still-active El Misti volcano at 19,200ft.
An hour's flight from Arequipa (almost passing within touching distance of El Misti) took us up to Juliaca. A short bus ride then took us to our hotel at Puno by Lake Titicaca at 12,500ft. Coca tea or 'mate de coca' is the local remedy against altitude sickness - an infusion of coca leaves containing a minute amount of cocaine - and this is provided in liberal quantities at the hotel!
The Uros Indians live on floating islands made of reeds and, of course, make full use of the tourist trade - not that it's that intensive.
The train from Juliaca to Cuzco takes some 7-8 hours and must be one of the great railway journeys of the world. It proceeds at a leisurely pace and after crossing the seemingly endless altiplano it crosses the Andean Atlantic/Pacific watershed at some 14,000ft before following the Urubamba river down to Cuzco.
Cuzco, at 10,500ft, is the tourist centre for visiting many Inca settlements in the area. Top of the list, of course, is Machu Picchu. This is reached by a 3 hour train ride from Cuzco, following the Urubamba, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Also within easy reach of Cuzco is Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman and Pisac.
After four nights at Cuzco we flew back to Lima for an overnight stay before literally coming down to earth by flying to Iquitos on the Amazon, only a few hundred feet above sea level despite being several thousand miles from the sea.
Several nights were spent at an Explorama lodge some 25 miles downstream and, from this base, various excursions were laid on - an early morning boat trip from bird-watching, a trip to an Indian village, walks in the rain-forest and a visit to a small township complete with a school and hospital.
Another flight back to Lima for some more sightseeing. After a final overnight stay it was time to leave Peru!
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|"Hey! Higher than that"
Changing the guard at
the Presidential Palace
|"The Park of Love"
Miraflores - Lima
|Our hotel at Arequipa||Arequipa
The Santa Catalina Monastery
The Santa Catalina Monastery
|Our coach at
- beseiged by traders!
|Titicaca from our
hotel at Puno
|Approaching one of|
the floating islands
|Uros Indian children||Uros Indian reed boats||The Andes from the Juliaca/Cuzco
train near the watershed
|A geo-thermal area and
steam issues from the ground
|A Cuzco street
The blue paint was particularly vivid
An Inca Fortress above Cuzco
|Pisac Sunday street market|
|The Mayors of the villages
around Pisac assemble
on Sunday mornings
|Pisac Sunday street market||Mind the baby!||Give me a nudge if|
you want something!
|Pisac children||Machu Picchu with Myra||Machu Picchu - the Plaza||The Sacred Valley of the Incas|
|Our air-conditioned transport
awaits us at Iquitos!
|Main Street, Iquitos||Explorama Lodge
downstream from Iquitos
|Amazonian Indian School|
|Necklaces for sale at
an Indian Village
|The assembled villagers||Passing traffic||One of the locals|
|Two can play at that game!||Our guide points out
some items of interest
|Colours of Peru||The Amazon at sunset|