Early morning today! Up at 5:45, we met next to the hotel at 6 am. 8 horses were waiting for us...we mounted and headed for Marcahuasi. It took about an hour and a half to get up to the "amphitheater" which is at 12,500 feet. The entire Marcahuasi area is huge, with amazing rock formations that look like animals and people. There are also ruins from several pre-Incan villages.
When we got to the amphitheater, we left the horses and started hiking to warm up a bit. We stopped for breakfast after about a half hour within sight of the frog and turtle formations. We kept hiking to the ruins of a pre-Incan village. We crawled down into a TINY house - about 4 feet wide and 12 feet long with 1 foot square openings on the sides that lead to little rooms they used for storage and sleeping. Our guide, Walter, also showed us plants that were good for headache, attitude, asthma, and prostrate cancer!
After the village, we headed for the "Fortress" which is a 50 foot high stone formation with houses and an altar to the sun at the top. At the base, we saw caves - some were homes and others were used for burial. Some villagers, they thin, went voluntarily into these caves to die rather than being captured by the Spaniards. Some of their mummies and bones are in he museum in San Pedro.
We climbed to the top of the "Fortress" and were happy to learn that we were at 13,000 feet!we could see forever - Marcuhuasi, the Andes range, Chosica down in the valley, and the cloud of smog over Lima.
We climbed back down from the Fortress and began the trek back (it was about 10:15). The kids were really tired, probably from the altitude, so Mom broke out the twizzlers, which gave them a second wind. When we got back to the amphitheater, we thought we were done, but we just kept going! Beyond the amphitheater, we saw more rock formations - the Prophet, the Rock of Humanities - and the village of Marcuhuasi proper. The village ruins were surrounded by burial buildings - the dead were supposed to protect the village.
Finally, we hiked down and met our horses. Persie loved the riding, but Dad and Dylan swore to never get on a horse again, if they could avoid it! It was scary going down the really steep parts and was tough on Mom & Dad's legs and backs...but we made it!
Jehaira had lunch waiting for us - boy did it taste good! We didn't finish until 2:20. We had a short read, then headed back to the restaurant to help set up for the movie that Yeseña had gotten for all the kids. Jehaira had made "Mosa morado" - a purple jello like desert made from boiling purple corn. Dad made popcorn. The movie was "Rio.". We tried to get it to play in English with Spanish subtitles, but it didn't work, so we played it in Spanish.
After the movie, we brought the DVD back to the restaurant and watched the movie in English. For dinner, we had spaghetti with this carrot and bull meat sauce that tasted just like the meat sauce we have at home!
There was no water at the restaurant, so Mom & Dad got water from the school and did all the dishes...out of the biggest pots you can imagine...
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