**This is a long post, so I am truncating it. Please read on to see more pictures/hear more about my trip!
We started Thursday off in Puno, leaving the hotel pretty early to start the drive to Juliaca (where we would be catching a plane to Lima). On the way, we stopped at another Pre-Inca and Inca site. This site was used as a cemetery and burial place for both the Pre-Incas and the Incas. It is called Sillustani, which means fingernails because of the little peninsulas that go into the small lake. There were several tombs, along with amazing views of a nearby lake. We walked around the site and our guide Percy explained the burial rituals and practices of the Pre-Inca tribes and the Incas.
**I am truncating this post because it is VERY long with a ton of photos, so please read on to see more!**
This part of the trip was my favorite! We started off Tuesday by checking out of the hotel (they stored all of our luggage for the 2 days we were gone) and taking only a change of clothes, basic toiletries, and cameras/money in a backpack for our 2-day excursion on Lake Titicaca. It’s been a while since I had been on a boat, so it was really nice to sit on the back deck of the boat and feel the sun and gentle breeze on my skin.
**I am truncating this post because it is quite long with lots of photos. Please read on to see more!
We departed from Mery’s house early in the morning to head to the bus terminal with all of our luggage (we all accumulated more stuff while in Cusco). We boarded the bus by 7 AM. We took a large tour bus to Puno. It was a 10-hour trip, but we made 5 stops, so it wasn’t too bad.
Our first stop was Andahuaylillas, a church that is often called “The Sistine Chapel of the Americas” because of its amazing murals on the walls and ceilings. It was originally built by the Jesuits, who commissioned the murals, and for awhile was owned by the Dominicans during the time the Jesuits were driven out of Peru by the Spanish because they had gained too much power. After the Independence Revolution, the Jesuits returned and regained ownership of the church. Because of the two different influences, there are two altars and two pulpits with very different styles. The Jesuit altar/pulpit is covered with murals, while the Dominicans built an intricately carved wooden pulpit. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take pictures inside the church. Another interesting part of the church is one of the doorways, where “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” is written in five different languages: Spanish, Latin, Quechua (still spoken by the indigenous people in many parts of Peru), Aymara (still spoken in some areas of Peru near Lake Titicaca), and Pukina (now extinct).
**I am truncating this post as it is quite long with lots of pictures. Please read on to see more!
On Saturday the 26th, we had a free day in Cusco. We had planned to go to the orphanage, but the kids had a field trip, so instead we just had the day free to do as we wished. We started off the day at Dirección Regional de Cultura Cusco: Museo Historico Regional, which is a museum of Cusco’s history back to the creation of the continent (pre-humans). It was a really interesting museum and we learned a lot from the tour about the entire history of Cusco, including the pre-human era, the Pre-Incas, the Incas, the conquisition, up to more present times. The museum is housed in the former home of Garcilaso del Inca, who wrote the first official history of the Incas, so there was also a room about him and his books (unfortunately, photos weren’t allowed).
From there, we went to a restaurant that was a bit more off the beaten path. We ate outside and the food was pretty nice. Our professor then went off to do her own thing and the rest of us walked to the artisan marketplace we had gone the weekend before to do some last-minute shopping because we were going to leave Cusco on Monday. After much deliberation, I finally decided to get a bag I had been eyeing all afternoon. On our way back to La Plaza de Armas, we stopped at a small ice cream place with wifi. We had all been craving ice cream and wanted to find wifi in order to contact our families and write our college blog.
From there, we headed back to the plaza and ate at Ciccolina, an Italian restaurant.
On Sunday the 27th, we took a day trip out to Pikallacta and Tipon, stopping along the way at a town where they make bread. We went first to Pikallacta, stopping closes by first at Huancarpay, a small town with a small laguna (originally there was a large lake here, but overtime it has become much smaller.
**This post is truncated because there are a lot of photos. Please read on to see more!
We returned to Cusco just in time for Easter Sunday. We hadn’t really packed church-appropriate Easter attire, so we decided not to try to go to a local mass. Instead, we walked around some. We actually ended up at one of the churches. The doors were open, so we were able to catch the tail-end of the service, which was nice. We then headed towards La Plaza de Armas, where we went to an ATM to get more money and then headed to a museum with lots of various artwork from Pre-Inca and Inca times. There were a lot of really amazing ceramics, which I loved. We then grabbed lunch, then we all walked to the large artisan marketplace. I bought a couple of blankets and such. After awhile, we all met back and headed to dinner.