The morning fog is deepened hard into the valley, sticking up to the mountains, the river, and the sky. It goes far to the end of the valley, as far as one can see, enveloping the crops, the grass, the rocks. A couple of small clouds are dissipating quietly in distance, while the sun is getting ready for a new day. A sun that is indulging our presence, sending its rays to create mystery and magic. A sun that is teasing my senses, and will haunt my memories forever.
How to Peru in 2 weeks – Day #12: Mirador Lagunillas – Reserva Nacional de Salinas y Aguada Blanca – Chinitos Patahuasi – Tocra swamps – Mirador de los Andes – Chivay – Yanque
Shortly after we exit the busy streets of Juliaca, we see again the landscape we got so accustomed few days before, along the Route of the Sun.
The bushes become dwindling bundles; the grass turns into thistle clusters. Hundreds of shades of brown mixed with shades of grey. When we see a green patch of land, we know a little spring or a pond is trying to give some life to these parched lands at 4,000+ m altitude. Otherwise, most land looks arid, and dreary. The barren land looks dried and frail, sad in its majesty, generous in its magnificence.
According to an Inca legend, Manco Capac -the creator of Inca Empire- and Mama Occllo emerged from the waters of Titicaca Lake carrying a golden staff instructed by the sun god Inti to create a temple in the spot where the staff sank into the earth. Another legend says that Wiracocha itself emerged from the Titicaca waters, heading to Sacred Valley to establish Inca Empire. While the legends can continue, Uros people are real. It is not certain where they came from (maybe from the Amazon), but they moved on the waters of Titicaca since they were oppressed by the local population, and not able to get some land of their own. Originally, they built these islands near the middle of the lake, but due a major storm in 1986, they rebuilt them closer to the shore.
We were so ready on the 10th day of our journey, waking up very early to be on time for the next leg of the trip. We didn’t call for a taxi, as the Plazoleta de San Blas was right at an arm length down the narrow street where we got accommodation for our 2-night stay in Cusco. A small plaza full with cars and street vendors was ready for us at that early time in the morning with a taxi, which took us in no less than 20 minutes to the Inka Express boarding location. More tourists appeared shortly in groups or pairs, and I was amazed how many people were suddenly surrounding us. Very well organized, the tour representatives took our names, handing the luggage tags, and the VIP passes. Around 7 am we were all boarded, heading to our new destination.
The bus tour Cuscoto Puno, known as Ruta del Sol/Route of the Sun, lasted about 10 hours, with 5 short stops in touristy places along the way. It might sound a long way, but the day went by pretty quickly actually.