Wednesday 19 August

(magnify) Santa Apolonia Hill

Breakfast is laid out buffet style this morning so there are no eggs, but we do not really need it after last night’s giant portions.

We are the only non-Peruvians on the minibus for our tour of Cumbe Mayo. It is all very friendly. Our guide, Miguel’s, English is … passable. (We did pay extra for an English-speaking guide.)

(magnify) Squeezing through the fissure

There is a good view over the city and Santa Apolonia Hill as we climb up into the mountains. After something like an hour’s driving we arrive at Cumbe Mayo. There is a rocky outcrop with pre-Inca carvings. This was a ceremonial place and there is what is supposed to have been an altar formed out of the rock, and a tunnel that we all squeeze through, some in the group with less ease than others.

In a small rocky valley that could be somewhere in the Peak District, Miguel points out a series of formations that have been given various imaginative names; eagle, penguin, various faces, and others less edifying.

(magnify) Cumbe Mahyo
(magnify) Other outcrops nearby
(magnify) Spinning
Miguel points out rock formations

We come to a pre-Inca channel that was used to divert water going down into the Pacific side of the watershed to the Atlantic side to irrigate their fields. Miguel directs our attention to a series of carvings above the channel of dubious interpretation. There are series of right-angle bends in the channel that are supposedly designed to force the water to run uphill in order to cross the watershed. Presumably the force of the water flow would have built up a standing wave into the corner. But would this really have worked? Unfortunately the water in the channel right now is not flowing at all, so we will never know.

(magnify) Church the Recoleta

Back in town we have a sandwich lunch followed by a siesta. Later we walk back to the artisan market near the bottom of the hill and buy some painted plates and other presents. Very little haggling seems to be possible and walking away does not help at all. They almost do not seem to want to make a sale. But in fact the prices are very reasonable anyway and we get most of what we wanted.

Dinner at a Chinese restaurant near the hotel. Good and big portions again.