We experienced a Curandero (healer) ceremony (healing ritual)where the medicine man created a pile consisting of grains, different foods such as rice, vegetables, Inca roots and coca leaves. It appeared he was collecting fruits of the land and he would be sending up prayers.
After creating this well formed collection he offered prayers and then the collection was set ablaze. He further went on to offer prayers to members of the group who might be interested. Of course some declined based on their religious belief or skepticism of the practice. I am okay with whatever he represented and saw it as another exposure to the customs of people from a different culture.
We are now heading to the famous UNESCO site of Machu Picchu via a train that would take about three hours from Cusco.
The train travels through the valley giving you a good view of the vegetated terraces, the river and a main structure that was pointed out was an original bridge built by the Incas. Here we see the Urubamba River in a more rugged flow than the area where we had the float ride.
original bridge and notice the terraced hillside along the Urubamba river
I wondered if it is being used any at all but it appears that it is being maintained. Upon arrival at the station near the Machu Picchu site, we were greeted by vendors always an opportunity to shop and we walked through a kind of market place (vendors selling different article of clothing souvenirs, bags, hammocks etc.) before getting to the main. Everywhere we have been so far has been very clean here was no different despite the high level of activity and people.
In order to get to Machu Picchu site there is a shuttle bus that goes up a winding road to the entrance. I am sure there is a cost but since our guide handled that I can’t help with that information..
You must be aware of your limitations and decide how far up to climb. The members of the group that ventured up got closer to some of structures, flowers and animals (lama). The pathways are cobbled and uneven hence the use of the canes to help keep you steady. To cover the terrain and hike to some of the peaks requires two days or more that is not to say you could not cover a lot in a day, it all depends on your interest and capability.
These pictures give you an idea of the craftsmanship of the Incas and I am sure there is a lot more that will be discovered in the future. For those who are interested you can get your passport stamped to remember your visit and yes it’s complimentary.
There are restaurants in the town close to hotels you either climb or descend but food is good and at night some places have live entertainment. Entertainers often have CDs for sale no pressure if you like you buy. Before taking the train back to Cusco we had lunch which was quite a spread overlooking the rough and churning Urubamba River.
To get to our restaurant we took a trek by the railroad tracks passing local shops along the way an easier adventure than climbing the hill like we did the night before.
Our last day was spent in Lima we walked to the waterside where there were shops and restaurants.
I have to give you a few shots of our farewell dinner and show you a method used to keep us warm.
Some folks extend their vacation by going to other parts of the region such as the Amazon and lake Titicaca wish I had more time but enjoyed this experience and would highly recommend.