20th Anniversary – Yucay/Aguas Caliente

Our first thing on the agenda, after checking into our room was a nice hot shower. It felt great!!! Then, some welcomed rest….wasn’t meant to happen. Remember early, I mentioned that Cusco was celebrating Corpus Christi by draping the crosses with cloth and marching around with bands??? Well, they were having a week long celebration for the same reason in Yucay. The band started playing and marching through the streets at 4:00. They only knew one song.

After awhile, David and I ventured out to see exactly what they were doing. There was much activity in this little village. Across from our hotel was a large park with a tree in the center. Very quiet, there. Next to the park, was the church and on the other side of the church, was another park. That is where all of the town appeared to be….watching bull fights!!!

I learned that there are three types of bull fighting here in Peru. The one here in Lima is the traditional Spanish bull fight with the matador and bull. Another bull fight is the one from the Andes mountain region. This is pitting the bull (the strongest animal that the Spaniards had) against the Condor (the strongest Peruvian animal). They strap the Condor onto the back of the bull. Then, they proceed to fight. The bull usually gets the worse of the fight. Lastly, the bull fight that we saw in Yucay was two bulls fighting each other.

There were several bulls tied around the perimeter of the park. In the center of the park, people surrounded to watch two bulls fight by butting heads together. I am sorry and this is only my opinion, but I just think that any form of bull fighting is barbaric and certainly, no form of entertainment. When we realized what they were doing, David and I continued on with exploring the town. Not long after passing the park, we heard a large BOOM and turned to see a bull in the center of the road with people scattering everywhere. It appeared that one of the bulls fighting decided to leave and broke through the gate that closed off the park.

All the while this was happening, the band was walking through the streets playing their one song while people carried the cross. After awhile, they would all sit for awhile…drink something….chica or cerveza (beer), who knows and then strike up again. Every so often, fire crackers would be set off. Some of them sounded like cannons going off…they were LOUD!

We returned to the hotel, had a drink at the bar and went to our room. So, the time now is about 7:30. We are both fading fast as we are very tired. Only one problem…the band is still playing, and not only do we have one band, but now, we have two!!! Despite that, David falls asleep. I continue reading my book and hoping that the bands will soon stop.

At one point, I went outside to investigate. At one end of town, the marching band was still marching between their drinking. At our end of town, the band was set up in some one’s yard. They had a full drum set, trumpet, snare drum and who knows what else. They were playing the one song that they knew. A couple of women were sitting in chairs, drinking beer and enjoying the music. After a certain amount of time, someone would whistle, the band would stop playing and everyone would sing a couple of lines or two…then, the band would start again. I was even considering offering them money to stop playing, but figured they would just take the money and continue playing….

Then, the cannon fire crackers would go off…..I was beside myself as I was so, so tired and just wanted some sleep. And….David slept through all of it. I guess I finally fell asleep around 9:00. We got our “wake-up” at 5:30 AM with another round of cannon firecrackers.

After a nice breakfast in the hotel, Juan Carlos arrived to take us to Aguas Caliente and Machu Picchu. We boarded the Vista Dome train for Aguas Caliente in Ollantaytambo.

The train ride was beautiful and with the windows in the ceiling as well as along the walls, we got great views. The tracks followed along a river and we saw Veronica Glacier which is at 19,000 ft – also called the “Glacier of Tears” as there are so many avalanches on it. Only one person has climbed this glacier, I believe it was a Frenchman, in the 1960s.

We arrived in Aguas Caliente around 10:00, had our luggage taken by the hotel porter and we hopped one of the several buses for Machu Picchu.

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