The last, and climactic stop on our post-PC journey would be Machu Picchu near the city of Cuzco. The trip from Lake Titicaca to Cuzco is a beautiful bus ride of between 7 and 10 hours. The 7-hour trip is a non-stop tear through the Andes. Another option offered by a couple of bus companies is the 10-hour tour that makes several stops along the way to take in various sights.
Our first stop was the town of Pucará. Pucará is a typical small pueblo but what sets this town apart from others is its cultural history. Artifacts from various pre-Inca cultures are housed in the museum in town and on the edge of town there are pre-Inca ruins. Not much is left of the original structures because the Spanish conquistadors used the stones from the ruins to build their Catholic Church (which itself was very beautiful).
Next we stopped at the highest elevation on the highway from Lake Titicaca to Cuzco. At over 4,000 meters, there wasn’t much at this stop except local crafts, a bathroom, and these beautiful mountains.
Next stop, Racchi, another Inca archeological site. The site contains an amazing defensive wall that is largely still intact, agricultural terraces, a residential center, dozens of circular storehouses, and the Waka Wiracocha (temple). This temple is believed to have been the largest roofed structure from the Incan Empire until it was destroyed by the Spanish.
After Racchi, we hit a popular lunch spot. The food was so-so, but at least there was a baby llama to occupy our time.
Our final stop was another famous Catholic church known as the Sistine Chapel of South America. San Pedro de Andahuaylillas was pretty I suppose, but I’d seen heaps of churches by this point. The more interesting thing in this town were some deformed skulls on display. The Incans practiced various forms of skull elongation in order to make their royal children smarter by increasing brain volume… Genius!
Next up… Cuzco and Machu Picchu!