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Cusco to Puno--Peruvian countryside

Altar at Andahuayllas Church
Travel from Cusco to Puno can be accomplished by bus,car or plane.  We opted for a 10-hour bus tour offered through Inka Express so we would be able to experience a bit of the countryside and a few stops along the way.  Starting at 7:00 AM, we were picked up from our hotel and headed to our first destination, the church in Andahuayllas, considered to be the Sistine Chapel of the Americas because of the elaborate frescos that line the walls.  The interior of the church is impressive, but our thoughts of the village take us back to a more primal memory.  Food.  Corn is a prime crop in Peru, and we tasted the freshest, lightest, most flavorful popcorn we had ever eaten offered by a vendor in the square across from the church.  Having purchased only one tiny bag, we were bemoaning the fact the rest of the day.

Stopping briefly in Raqchi, an Inca archeological site, we walked around town and took advantage of the opportunity to walk over a short (reinforced) Inca rope bridge on the edge of the village.  As we wandered around the market in the main square, at the recommendation of a local guide, we tried  lucuma ice cream coated with chocolate.  Made from a Peruvian fruit which has a flavor cross between sweet potato and maple syrup, this was another taste treat we will probably never be able to repeat.

Following a hearty Peruvian buffet lunch, the bus moved on.   It stopped briefly for photographs, and yet another chance to buy souvenir at La Raya Pass, elevation 4335 meters (14,222 feet).

Next stop was Pacara to visit a museum, but we decided to walk around town instead.  In our travels in this region, we had noticed ceramic bulls on home roofs, and here they were located on the church in the center of town as well.  Called toritos de Pucar (bulls of Pucara), because the authentic lucky bulls come only form this area, they are thought to protect the family inside, bring good luck, positive energy, health and prosperity.

Shortly behind schedule, we arrived at the bus station in Puno, home of Lake Titicaca, but that's another story.
Andahuayllas Village
In Andahuayllas
In Andhuayllas
In Andhuayllas
In Raqchi at the market.  Different hats and garb identify the home village of the wearer.
Pacara ceramic bulls
Altar at church in Raqchi
Church in Raqchi
In Raqchi
In Raqchi
In Raqchi
Inca bridge at Raqchi
Inca bridge outside Raqchi
In Andahuaylillas
In Raqchi
Billboard of highland Peru, beer ad painted on side of building
In Raqchi
La Raya Pass
At La Raya Pass
Roadside market set up to take advantage of buses stopping at La Raya Pass
Through the countryside
Church at the main plaza in Pucara, Peru
Tiled mural in Pucara, Peru



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