Chile - Peru 2009

Cusco, Peru to Home
(via Lima and Miami)

15 November 2009

General Information

Local Map

Photographs and Commentary

Our Chilean cousins, having an earlier flight, left the hotel in mid-morning. After they left the rest of us walked around Cusco for the last time and returned to the hotel for lunch.

We left the hotel for the airport at around 2:30 pm. After paying our airport fee, we boarded our plane for the one hour flight to Lima. In Lima, we had a nearly six hour layover. We thought we could check in and leave our luggage so we could roam the airport without lugging our bags around. Unfortunately, American Airlines didn't even open its check in positions until a little over two hours before flight time. After going through a lengthy security and check in process, we were able to go through the main security area to the boarding area where we managed to get something to eat.

The flight from Lima to Miami was a relatively short 5 1/2 hours and we landed at around 6 am, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. The US cousins now separated for our independent journey home. Susie and I had another 5 hour layover in Miami and finally boarded a flight at 11:30 flight to JFK. By the time we got to the house at 3:30 pm we had spent 25 hours in traveling from Cusco.

I can only describe this trip as great. Tiring, but great. The first week was primarily a family affair culminating in the wedding of Avital and Jonathan. We had plenty of family "togetherness" time during the week. Our togetherness continued with our trip to Peru. All of us, except my brother who opted to visit the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, headed for Cusco and the center of the Inca Empire. Peru was one of those once in a lifetime trips. Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire, was a fascinating combination of Inca and Spanish culture. The Spaniards destroyed the Inca structures and built their churches and other buildings on top of the remaining foundations. The Plaza de Armas was typical of the Spanish plan. The Cathedral is built on the remains of an Inca Temple and the building fronting the plaza have porticos common to the Spanish construction in the Americas (Santa Fe, NM is a good example in North America). Today, these buildings house stores, including a McDonald's. Machu Picchu is all that it was advertised to be. Ollantaytambo was fascinating both in its historical and current form. The trip through the Sacred Valley was beautiful and we had a good time in each of the stops.

On our last breakfast in Cusco, my cousin Leo made a toast to our parents. Because of their strength and fortitude in surviving the horrors of the Holocaust we were able to come together and celebrate their legacy. So where do we go next...

Leo's Quest

Leo's quest was to find the locations he visited 45 years ago. Below are his comments.

My traveling companions and guides on our trip to the Cusco and Sacred Valley area of Peru know how important and enjoyable it was for me to be able to revisit locations that I last had seen 45 years ago.  I thank you for your help and patience in that regard.

I am including in this e-mail some of the more striking photographs that I have comparing 1964 (on the left) and 2009 (on the right).  I hope you enjoy them.

Except where indicated in five instances below, I took all the 1964 and 2009 photos.



Calle Santa Clara wall of Cusco's Cine Teatro Garcilaso de la Vega, now the Teatro Kusikay, located at Calle Union 117. 



Train between Cusco and Machu Picchu.  Food service previously was provided by local vendors at train stations.  PeruRail now provides on-board food service and a fashion show on the Vistadome trains for tourists.  Tourists no longer are permitted on local trains.


1964 view of Machu Picchu from Hiuayna Picchu.  2009 view from approximately 180 degrees in the opposite direction.



At the Machu Picchu end of the Inca Trail from Cusco.  [2009 photo by Leopoldo Levi.]


Switchback road from the Urubamba River valley to the entrance to the Machu Picchu complex.



View of Main Square area of Machu Picchu.  1964 view is from Huayna Picchu.  2009 view from lower angle and approximately 180 degrees in the opposite direction (and Huayna Picchu is hidden in the mist).  A small pillar that was near the center of the Main Square in 1964 no longer is there (reportedly removed to permit a helicopter to land with visiting dignitaries).



The peak of Putucusi, across the Urubamba River from Machu Picchu.



Classic views of Machu Piccchu and Huayna Pichu -- 1964 and 2009.  (That pillar is barely visible at the left edge of the 1964 photo.)



Note the extensive reconstruction since 1964 in this area of Machu Picchu.



Terrace structure at Ollantaytambo.



View from an upper terrace at Ollantaytambo.  (The angle of view is a bit different.)



View from the main terrace structure at Ollantaytambo toward the hillside on the opposite side of town.



Close-up of 1964 image -- and 2009 photo of the same location.  (Has the nose on the natural "face" in the hillside eroded since 1964?)  [2009 photo by Martha Levy.]



Cantilevered steps on the side of an Ollantaytambo terrace.  [2009 photo by Leopoldo Levi.]



Typical Inca doorway and stonework at Ollantaytambo terraces.  (The orange stuff on the rocks is lichen that has remained much the same since 1964.)  [2009 photo by David Machicao Olivera.]



Baño de la Ñusta ("Bath of the Princess") at the base of the main Ollantaytambo terrace structure.



Inca construction channeled a stream through a plaza near the foot of the main Ollantaytambo terrace structure.  By 2009, the area had become a location for vendors' stalls just outside the entrance gate to the terraces.  (There was no gate or entrance fee in 1964.)  Just past the lightpole in the distance on the left of the 2009 photo is the outside wall of the Tawachaki Restaurant and Pizzeria, where we had dinner on November 12th and where the proprietor told me that the plaza I was seeking was on the side of the restaurant.



The Inka Bridge on the outskirts of Ollantaytambo.  (Note the piers that had been built since 1964 -- and then abandoned.)  [2009 photo by Samuel Hess.]



The Pisac Market has undergone extensive renovation.  (Two views each from 1964 and 2009.)





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