Sunday, March 19, 2017

Excursion: Cutimbo

Family excursion to hot springs and more ruins
Carnaval ended with a blowout on Sunday night. Fredy's boat had come with cargo and was poised to return to Puno empty on Monday, so we decided to fill it up with passengers and begin a family excursion in spite of hangovers and exhaustion after a week of parties. We especially wanted to include the family of Francisco and Juana with their daughter and granddaughter, Olga and Rosie. School will not start for a week, so this was our last chance to include the kids.

First thing in the morning, we hiked up to Olga's family to talk them into coming.
Tara, Rossi, Juana and Francisco in their kitchen
 Olga's brother had sprained his ankle during Carnaval, and needed to return to Tacna for his work, so the offer of a free boat ride convinced them to come. Olga deferred, but we filled the boat and started the journey:
Rossi with Tara, Amantani and Taquile in the background
Sam with Lisbet
Kusi and Edith, girlfriend cousins on the boat
Esteban's son-in-law, Demian, lives in Puno and runs a bakery with a brick bread oven plus owns cars to distribute the bread. One of his vehicles is a big van (combi) that legally carries 15 passengers. We hired the combi, filled it with 18 passengers, including Demian's extended family and went first to the Loripongo hot springs about a hour drive from Puno. Simple place, where they empty and clean the tubs after each use and fill them with fresh and very hot water. It doesn't take too long to cool down enough for a luxurious healing soak.

Ruperta and Eufrasia got up early to roast chicken with sweet potatoes and potatoes in the bread oven to add to our lunch.  Good thing, because Sam and I only brought boiled eggs, cheese and bread for 12 people. Turned out we had a feast of a lunch after the hot springs.
Our driver waves; Eufrasia dishes out the chicken
Rossi and Juana enjoy their meal

Driving back toward Puno, we stopped at Cutimbo, Inca and Pre-Inca ruins about a 1/2 hour drive from Puno, but with no regular transportation, thus seldom visited. Rain had started, so part of our group waited in the bus while the rest of us wrapped ourselves in plastic and hiked to the top.
 With both round and square chulpas, this archeological site is of high quality rockwork, comparable to Sillustani and the Sacred Valley.
 The perfectly-fitted rounded rocks contain low-relief carvings of puma, monkeys:
bas-relief carvings on the rocks
We took shelter in front of this restored cave, buriel place with pictographs (behind a proctective fence and with a full time guard), to do our coca leaf ceremony. The guard (watchiman) did not join our ceremony but was extremely friendly and forthcoming with information. He said this was Pre-Inca, about 1100 a.d. and that there are many more such sites. This one has been fence-protected for 17 years and is reconstructed as far as the bones and pottery placement.

note pottery (far left) and bones

see the stick llamas?
Even in the rain, the site is beautiful, rich with vegetation, including this native tree that reminds me of manzanita.
native tree

We finish the day with everybody's favorite: pollo a la braza.

Most of the family stayed on the mainland and helped Esteban work in his potato field between Puno and Juliaca. We stayed to write the previous blog and print pictures of the excursion to give away. We all rode the boat back to Taquile together on Wednesday.

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