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    South by South America Tour – Peru Part 5

    Wednesday, October 16, 2019
    Puno to Cuzco, Peru

    Estela Pukara at the Museo Litico Pukara in Pukara, Peru.
    Estela Pukara at the Museo Litico Pukara in Pukara, Peru.

    Hatun Naqak at the Museo Litico Pukara in Pukara, Peru.
    Hatun Naqak at the Museo Litico Pukara in Pukara, Peru.

    A distressed brick wall in Pukara, Peru.
    A distressed brick wall in Pukara, Peru.

    This morning, I had to wake up at the crack of ass, also known as 5:00 am, to board an Inka Express sightseeing bus bound for Cusco, Peru with five scheduled stops. After boarding, the bus finally departed Puno at 6:50 am. Once we pulled out of the valley, we cruised across a high altitude plateau on a flat, smooth, straight highway that was mysteriously outfitted with speed bumps every half mile or so. Finally, a road in Peru with no potholes, and what do they do? Install speed bumps. Why? I guess to make up for the lack of potholes.

    No bullshit, but maybe a little leak in Pukara, Peru.
    No bullshit, but maybe a little leak in Pukara, Peru..

    An odd building in Pukara, Peru.
    An odd building in Pukara, Peru.

    An elderly woman poses for a photo with a llama in Laraya, Peru.
    An elderly woman poses for a photo with a llama in Laraya, Peru.

    Around 8:30 am, we pulled into the small town of Pukara. In the center, we briefly checked out the exterior of a large brick church called the Templo Santa Isabel, and followed up that with a slightly longer visit to the tiny interior of the Museo Litico Pukara. Our tour guide gave us a rundown of all of the pre-Inca and Inca stone carvings of such lively characters as shamans and decapitators.

    A close-up of a weathered sign in Laraya, Peru.
    A close-up of a weathered sign in Laraya, Peru.

    The Inka Express tour bus in Laraya, Peru.
    The Inka Express tour bus in Laraya, Peru.

    Snowcapped peaks somewhere near Laraya, Peru.
    Snowcapped peaks somewhere near Laraya, Peru.

    Back on the bus, we cruised for a while into the mountains for stop number two, La Raya. There, we disembarked at a pullout on the side of the road, where, amongst a bunch of souvenir stands, everyone dutifully shot the same photos of a snowcapped peak off in the distance. As always, we passed much more impressive mountains during other parts of the journey. Also present were Quecha and Aymara women with pet llamas and vicunas who charged a small fee to pose for photos with tourists.

    A gutted Catholic church somewhere near Laraya, Peru.
    A gutted Catholic church somewhere near Laraya, Peru.

    The Iglesia de Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.
    The Iglesia de Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.

    Two women sell magazines at Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.
    Two women sell magazines at Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.

    Our third stop was at Marangani, where we visited a small museum that delved into the Incas and their way of life, such as their use of coca leaves, as well as mummification centuries before the Egyptians. Following that, we had a buffet lunch upstairs as a couple of local musicians played traditional Peruvian music. Stop number four was at Raqchi, a large Inca archaeological site that consists of the ruins of the massive Temple of Wiracocha, plus living quarters, a lodging house for travelers, barracks for troops, circular storehouses, etc.

    The Temple of Wiracocha at Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.
    The Temple of Wiracocha at Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.

    A bull and a stone wall at Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.
    A bull and a stone wall at Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.

    The Temple of Wiracocha at Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.
    The Temple of Wiracocha at Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.

    Our fifth and final stop of the day was at the town of Andahuaylillas, where we visited the San Pedro Apóstol de Andahuaylillas, a 16th century Catholic church that is known as the Cistine Chapel of the Andes. The rather plain exterior hides an amazingly complex interior that is composed of an arresting combo of intricate Baroque, Christian and indigenous Inca imagery. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed.

    A woman walks llamas near Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.
    A woman walks llamas near Raqchi in San Pedro, Peru.

    A large tree at the town square in Andahuaylillas, Peru.
    A large tree at the town square in Andahuaylillas, Peru.

    Back on the bus, we finally pulled into Cuzco around 5:00 pm, a little while before sunset. After consulting various maps, I finally figured out the way to the center of town, and made my way up to the Hostel Kokopelli. Much to my dismay, it’s a party hostel, complete with a bar full of loud, obnoxious kids in their teens and 20s, yelling, laughing and whistling while playing beer pong until 2:00 am. Likewise, in the bunk bed dorm room, people would come in and make a bunch of noise all through the night. Luckily, I had only booked two nights in that hell hole.

    Words and photos ©2019 Arcane Candy.

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