Art, architecture, history, travel

Posts tagged “Bolivia

1986 Cuzco, Macchu Picchu and Bolivia 3/4

Copacabana peninsula, Lake Titicaca

Copacabana peninsula, Lake Titicaca (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did I mention we are using the same backpacks we used on our honeymoon in Egypt in 1982?

Stella took us into town to a shopping mall with a travel agent were we booked our trip to Cuzco, Macchu Picchu and the flight back from Bolivia. She didn’t seem sure we knew what we doing, but we were. It all seemed a little adventurous to her. Bolivia just sounded so interesting.

We were going somewhere she had never been. Her favorite destination was the United States. Jackie, Stella’s daughter told us, I’ve never been to Bolivia. It’s our neighbor like Mexico is to you.  Katie got a really nice purse it was really soft. Later we gave it to Marion. We also went to a very famous silver shop, Camusso. They had really nice things.

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Tiwanaku, Bolivia

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Macchu Picchu

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Macchu Picchu

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Macchu Picchu

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Macchu Picchu

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Fresh Fish, Copacaana

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Cuzco, Peru

We got up early and to take the plane to Cuzco CUZ, the capital of the Inca Empire. Pancho took us to the airport . When you get there you drink coca tea and rest because of the altitude change. Those that didn’t sure regretted it. The train for Macchu Picchu leaves at the crack of dawn. It follows the valley of the Urubamba river valley that is a beautiful view in itself.

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Human Sacrifice, Ollantaytambo, Peru

Macchu Picchu remained hidden until 1911 when discovered by Yale archeologist Hiram Bingham. The thing about it is the days and nights are about the same leangth. Being near the equator it gets dark early.  We spent that afternoon exploring the ruins. We spent the night at Macchu Picchu, also known as the lost city of the Incas.  In the morning we climbed to the top of Huayna Picchu, the small peak. The view is actually better from the ground. As is so often the case, something big looks better when you’re not standing right underneath it.


When we got back to Cuzco, the children were buying bundles of grass to feed their cuy or Guinea pigs. Yes, they’re actually native to SA.

Back at Cuzco we visited the nearby fortress of Ollantaytambo and Saksaywaman.

Believe it our not in fourth grade I had a friend who moved to St Louis from Bolivia he spoke French. There was a scary guy on he train named Jerry. He had come all the way from Iquitos in the rain forest in one day, sea level and was obviously suffering from altitude sickness. We got to Puno after dark we had been warned about the crime at the train station and the backpack slashers. We got out of there as fast as we could. The next day we got on a boat and were on our way across lake Titicaca for Copacabana in Bolivia.Much of Bolivia is Called the altiplano. It’s the highest plateau in the world after Tibet. In the sixteenth century Bolivia provided fantastic wealth to the Spanish empire from Potosi or mountain of silver. Today the silver is played out and tin is mined. Bolivia is a poor country as shown is the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. One of the best buddy movies ever made. Originally known as Upper Peru the name was changed to Bolivia to honor Simon Bolivar. On the boat we met a couple from Austria.

Changing Money At that time inflation was rampant in Bolivia. The government couldn’t print enough large bills so the money changers just bundled them together with rubber bands. One night I ran out of money so I had to change with the waiter at the restaurant since the banks were closed. While driving to La Paz we saw trade caravans crossing the desert on Llamas, following the same route they had used for centuries.

Our Austrian friends told us they were leaving La Paz because they people made them feel unwelcome. That’s a shame because they had come such a long way.

Did you take water from the Titcaca see. Along with Mexico Bolivia is very popular with Germans and Austrians.

Tiwanaku is the famous archeological site outside of la Paz. Its totems are well know and have great psychological significance. We gave a post card to our German friend she said this is just for me I’m not sharing it with any one.

On the flight back to Lima from LaPaz LPB we stopped in Arequipa AQP the white city and flew over the Atacama desert.

The Atacama desert is the driest desert in the world. Some parts have seen  less than 10mm of rain in 200 years. This is what makes the fishing so great. Anchovies and Tuna. The Birds eat the fish and the poop collects. A very important source or nitrate very important during WWI. The cold Humboldt current comes up anticlockwise from antarctica. It is much warmer at comparable latitudes on the Atlantic side of the continent.