We continued our Cusco tour with a panoramic bus ride with several stops along the way to overlook the city, and see the Incan ruin remains that are much older than Machu Picchu ever thought of being.
First stop: Saksaywaman
Not long ago, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, a result that will surprise none of the millions of people who’ve visited the spectacular stone citadel in the sky. What most visitors to Peru don’t know, however, is that the country is thick with ancient Inca wonders. We hit two of these sites on our panoramic tour!
The first is Saksaywaman (pictured above). Arguably the greatest Inca ruin outside of Machu Picchu, this gargantuan complex overlooks the city of Cusco.
Saksaywaman is believed to have once been a royal retreat, a fortress, or both. Its zigzag walls are built with some of the largest stones to be found in Inca masonry; some are estimated to weigh as much as 300 tons, yet are fit together as tightly as the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Incredible stone walls!
While Machu Picchu is young by archeological standards, from about the 1400s, the earliest occupation of the Saksaywayman hilltop dates to about 900, a difference of 500 years!
Driving out further – horses and eucalyptus trees!
Riding horse back!
Notice anything on top of this roof?
It’s a two bull good luck roof topper!
This powerful image is one of good fortune and protection for the house and the family who live there. We had fun finding all of the bulls after they were pointed out to us, along with the story of why there are bulls on the roof in the first place!
More gorgeous scenery over Cusco!
You can see a bit of the city below!
Our second ruin site, Pukapukara!
The walls of Pukapukara behind a vendor’s market place!
I love the contrast in the colors in this photo!
We were told that the name probably comes from the red color of the rocks at dusk. If you look closely you can see they do have a rosy hue.
Woman selling her trinkets.
Love the colors!
The tourists help the Peruvian people to make a living, too; it is a common thing for people who live in the area to set up tables selling small souvenirs or offering to take pictures of groups in front of the ruins for a few sols (one sol is approximately 36 cents).
I loved the llama family!
Huge foundations. Just amazing to me.
I wonder who used to look OUT of this window in the year 900??
Another theory is that it was a place of rest for hunters and weary travelers, as well as Incan nobles, due to all of its luxurious baths, canals, plazas, fountains, and separate rooms.
But nothing is known for sure, and those who did know are long gone into the pages of history.
Back on the bus! Waving good bye to the grazing llama!
Still more of our panoramic tour to share! There are so many photos I need to break them down into chapters or all I would do is sit here and edit photos all day!
My missing luggage was picked up last night! Hooray!
I had opted to go get it at the airport because my dentist is close to that end of town, and I just wanted my bag – I didn’t want to wait another day for it, and no one would have been here if they were to deliver it while I was out. I’m happy to say that everything made it and the first thing I did was throw all of that jungle dirty laundry into the wash!
And then I remembered the woman in San Luis doing her family’s laundry out of 10 gallon buckets by hand, and I sent up a moment of quiet gratitude for the simple blessings I take for granted every day. Next time you do your laundry, just throwing in the soap and pushing a button, stop to think and remember!
I have scheduled a massage for this afternoon to get the kinks out of my neck and shoulders. Too many strange beds, too much plane travel --
After that it is a van maintenance afternoon – shamu also has a spa treatment to prepare for the two driving trips I have next week.
Remember SUNDAY AFTERNOON at 2pm we are doing Quilt-Cam!! Mark your calendars, and plan on a project to sew along with me.