Sunday, 23 July 2017

2017 05 22 Easter Island

Here are a few photos from not long after I landed on Easter Island. It really is a tropical island, the humidity felt similar to Brisbane. Something that impressed me was the huge cloud formations that would just roll over the island quite quickly.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

2017 05 21 Santiago

The day before I had a flight form Cusco to Lima and then Lima to Santiago, about 15 hours of traveling and airports in total. So this day was just a low key day where I went for a walk to this big tower which has a huge shopping mall in it. It's called Costanera Center.

I was staying in Providencia, which is known as a safe area. So I could just walk down to this stormwater like river and follow the park all the way to this tower.

Look at the mountains in the background.

One of the challenges in Chile is the currency. The numbers are so large I found it very hard to get an idea of value. For example on this receipt for my dinner that night it cost 12660 chilean pesos which is actually $24.45 AUD. So that wasn't so cheap, which I assumed would be the case because of the style of restaurant.

Friday, 21 July 2017

2017 05 19 Sacred Valley tour

The day after getting back to Cusco I booked a tour of the Sacred Valley, the main reason I wanted to tour the Sacred Valley was to see the ruins at Ollantaytambo. The trains to and from Aguas Calientes / Little Machu Picchu stop at Ollantaytambo and you can actually stay there before going to Machu Picchu. Something I wish I had done is taken the train to Ollantaytambo, stayed a night or two and explored the ruins and town there, and then the train to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu.

The tour started at this Llama place, it seemed built for tourists but was actually well done. They had all the different varieties of Llama. So Llama's are in the Camel family of species. The Vicuna genus/type is considered the original Llama from which all Llama's descended, and their fleece is considered the best and therefore very very expensive. They actually have to kill the Vicuna to get the fleece. So the domesticated version of the Vicuna is the Lama and they are thought to have been domesticated 5500 years ago. So there has been plenty of time for all the different varieties adapt through selective breeding, for different types of fleece for example. Lama's were considered sacred by the Inca, they provided fleece for clothes, milk, meat, they could carry things. Also keep in mind that the Inca didn't invent or use the wheel, man power was the way they moved things around, the Llama was also viewed as a beast of burden. Perhaps the fact they had allot of practise in using man power that they felt confident to move and place huge rocks that we seen in many of their ruins.

I found this sign very interesting.


We then went on to an area where they demonstrated their ways of dyeing.

This is the color that Cochineal naturally produces

The same Cochineal color can be turned in to other colors by adding other things.

The valley was called the Sacred Valley by the Inca because of how fertile it was and production of so many different varieties of corn and potatoes.

The Sacred Valley

This man was shaping bit of shell to fit in to this piece. He would sand the shell against the spinning wheel in the middle and then bring it back to see if it would fit in the place where he wants it to go.

The following is Ollantaytambo. If you want to pronounce it like Peruvians the double L (ll) is pronounced like a 'jah' and 'yah' at the same time. For example Lllama is 'yah-mah'. So for Ollantaytambo its Oyahan-tay-tahm-bo.

The Inca had a system of roads and Inn's called Tambo. To give you an idea of the Incan way, there where only ever about 100,000 Inca and most of them where in Cusco. What they did is subjugated people, so they would go to a people and ask for their allegiance otherwise they would make life difficult for them. But when people would join the Inca they would become part of the large network of the empire, so if you were keen on working with metal you could go to Cusco where all the best work in metal was happening. Or if you were a farmer you could actually get to go to another land within the Incan empire and farm on that land and they let you keep the profits. The way the Inca taxed the people was through military service, so the people paid taxes by serving in the army. As a result they built a huge system of roads and buildings called Tambo where anyone travelling on those roads could find lodging and food. So Ollantaytambo = The Tambo of Ollantay.

At Ollantaytambo three valleys meet, it was a strategic location for the military. A man called Manco Inca Yupanqui made it his fortress and defeated the Spanish in 1537 'Battle of Ollantaytambo'.

The start of the temple. The rocks used here where actually quarried out of that mountain in the distance, somehow they got them down the mountain and across the river and then up this mountain.

This building is like an Incan fridge. Because of the convergence of the valleys there is wind the blows through and hits this face of the mountain, so they placed this storehouse there and kept it open so that the cool air would blow through and keep everything inside cool.

An Inca sun temple. Some of those rocks have carvings that represent animals in their mythology. Most of this temple is unfinished, but impressive, for example the gaps between these rocks are believed to allow the large rocks to move around and not crack. Also, how did they get them up here!?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

2017 05 18 Exploring Cusco

The main square in Cusco:

Some of the streets on the way to finding the old Inca stone work.

One theory as to why the Inca built this way is that it protected against earthquakes. Notice that each stone is never a perfect rectangle, at the very least they tend to have a trapezoid shape. This meant that an earthquake would actually shake them together and make the wall stronger. Perhaps why most Inca walls like this are still around today. This twelve angled stone is the keystone in this wall.

This is the twelve angle stone.

You can see the Spanish stonework piled on top. The Spanish actually kept the layout of Cusco and just built on top of it.

On the way to the Inca museum.

After the Inca museum, which was another museum were they don't allow photography, I went for a walk up to Sacsayhuaman, some inca ruins. It is unknown exactly why it was built but there is a theory that it was for their snake god, because it zig zags like a snake. But the stone work is just as incredible as Machu Picchu. A tour guide said that the Spanish believed that the demons helped the Inca build it because they didn't believe that the Inca moved and placed the huge rocks by themselves.