Road Trip to Lake Titicaca! Update with photo.

Gray sky in Cuzco, good time to head elsewhere. Off we go to Lake Titicaca area at 12,500 feet for 3 days so I took my altitude medicine this morning. We left at 8am (arrive at hotel for night at 6pm) and had a scenic drive! We noticed the Pre-Inca Wari's engineering of aqueducts and terraces. Wari's work is impressive 350 years before the Incas who improved upon the ideas.
Most of the landscape we saw today was mountains and flat open spaces in between. Peru is 58% jungle and we were not in the jungle at all today. Mountains soared to 15k at least. We passed a 1926 cemetery and our guide told us that when the man dies, his wife wears black for 1 year. When the female dies, the husband wears black for 3 months. Hmmm… in the rural areas, divorce rate is 1%; 17% in the city.
The trees we saw before arriving at the higher elevations were eucalyptus and used for fence posts. Flamingoes and Andean geese were at the lakes. Adobe houses can last 60 years, but the roof needs to be replaced often.
We picked up a female at the side of the road and drove her at least a few miles. She supervises 5 schools in the area. Where we dropped her off we could see the village down in the valley. She had at least an hour walk ahead of her!
An Incan Temple, Raqchi, was our first stop. The area is known for their ceramics and this temple was at one time huge! The 150 circular food storages are only half of what was originally at the site. Fortunately our guide showed us a picture of what this temple, housing and storage may have looked like. I had never known that layers of food in storage were separated in layers with muña, from the mint family. The Inca Trail goes through this archeological park all the way to Argentina. The photo below shows the original windows at left and renovation of others at right. Notice the blocks of rock at bottom with adobe bricks on top…a different construction. Park employees added the tile roof so rains do not totally destroy the wall…in their day the temple had a thatched roof.
We saw some abandoned haciendas that were once where the landowner lived and owned huge amounts of land before the government came in to give land to the people in the area.
Another area down the road had hot springs resulting from past volcanic activity. We had extra lunch items from our box lunch so another stop was made to give that food to school children. These students were walking whereas many others were in bicycles. People at this 12-13K elevation get home right away since by 5:30pm it is cold!
After driving through beautiful places, we came to an ugly town of Juliaca. It has mining money, but no taxes are paid and as a result most streets are dirt. There must have been little thought to this place as it grew up around the only airport in thus part of Peru (1.5 hour drive from our hotel to airport when we fly out next week). Our guide told us he used to drive from Cuzco to Juliaca to bring his children to a movie….a 6 hour drive one way! Now he has a theater 5 minutes away from his Cuzco home. Teachers were on strike in Juliaca.
We are 20 minutes south of Puno at a nice hotel. It will be wonderful to finally see Lake Titicaca in the morning!

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