Instead of taking a direct bus from Puno to Cuzco, we decided to take the Inka Express, a ‘touristic’ bus: a ten hours bus ride, including lunch and five stops at several historical places along the way. It was again an early start with the bus departing at 7 in the morning.
We leave very early from our apartment to the bus station of Puno. The sign in the bus says it’s zero degrees, and it feels like that, too. The bus leaves Puno and through the sandy roads of the poor village of Juliana we first head to Alcra Pukara Museum. Here we paused for a while so that we could visit the museum. Outside the museum were little souvenir shops, where we bought souvenirs for both the mothers.
Next stop: La Raya. Highest point of the tour (over 4,330 meters) where we stop for 20 minutes to admire the view at the snowy mountains. Our bus is a so called O2-bus, which means that it has extra oxygen aboard. This is very welcome, we feel a lot more energy and notice the difference with outside, especially this stop.
After having had a stop in Sichuan for a lunch, we head to and stop in Raqchi. The archaeological site of Raqchi is a temple built by the Incas to worship the God Viracocha. This magnificent work of architecture in stone and clay has a rectangular 92 meters long and 25 wide. The most striking is a central wall 12 meters high with a stone base and body of adobe. On both sides of the wall one can see the basis of 22 cylindrical columns. The set also has rooms for Inca nobility.
Last stop before Cusco is Andahuaylillas. The main attraction of Andahuaylillas is its baroque church dedicated to Saint Peter the Apostle. The church is nicknamed “the Sistine Chapel of America” because of the magnificent fresco’s that adorn its walls. We weren’t allowed to make pictures inside, but believe us: it was truly a feast for the eye!
The days is about to end and we arrive in Cusco. Cusco is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. In 2009, the city had a population of 510,000. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft). Within 5 minutes after our stop in Cusco, our AirBNB host Katharina arrives and takes us to our apartment by taxi. A great place, we’re so happy to find this spacious place with good shower, washing machine, enormous bed and a terrific view.