Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day Three Entry

Monday, May 25th

Day Three started out MUCH better than the previous day. We had the most amazing pancakes and dulce de leche that we've ever had. After a short but very strenuous climb out of the valley we camped in, we got to tour several Incan Ruin sites along the hike.

The first was called "Runkuraqay"(the image above). Because the Incans didn't have a written language, it is assumed that this (and the other spots we saw on Day 3) were used as 'rest stops' and control points for messengers running between Cusco (the Incan Capital) and the 'mini-capitals' (called "Tambos") like Machupicchu. These messengers would carry a series of knots and dyed llama wool to help communicate important warnings or messenges.

The Incan Rulers used the Tambos as a way to expand and build their empire. By building tambos and control stops in the valleys that sit in between rocky mountians, they were able to see the messengers and/or enemies coming well in advance and also have a place for Incan governers to reside and rule from.

Also, we noticed that all of the Incan Ruins were built with all the doors and windows in a slight, trapizoidal shape. In fact, we were told that all Incan doors and windows are built with an exact angle between 13-14 degrees. They believe that this was to help protect against damage from earthquakes; which, whether by coincidence or not, occur in Peru every 50 years. The Incans believed that nature should never be tampered with and built their structures and paths around natural elements (like giant stones or lakes) often, including them into their intended buildings.

The second half of day three took us through part of the sub-tropical rainforest here where we saw a lot of different plant and flower varieties. Also, the path (which was part of the original Incan stonepath) took us through several natural caves and tunnels. Its really amazing to think that this was the same path that was used over 500 years ago!

We arrived at our campsite just before sunset and were treated to the most spectacular views I've ever seen. Our site was located just on the edge of a mountain cliff (above the cloud lines) and it looked as if we were literally on the edge of the world! The clouds settled in over the nearby mountains and we could also see the back side of Machupicchu Mountain from here. At night, the stars were breathtaking. We felt like we could just reach up our hands and grab one, we were so close. We even saw about a dozen or so shooting stars.

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