Fiesta de la Candelaria 2

The grand parade took place on Monday and again sections of the 79 groups paraded a different route with some wider streets but also passing along the narrow main street as before. I managed to sample some of this. Watch HERE.

The altitude (higher than Cusco) was giving me problems again and by 10pm on Monday I am in my bed. I would have liked to witness the late night mayhem as the all day drinking takes its toll and the portaloos overflow! I wake for another pee at 3am and am wide awake so consider slipping out as I can still here the drums pass. Then all goes quiet and I slip to sleep.

At 9am in the morning I walk down the the main road and you would not know what had been happening five and a half hours previously. The pungent portaloos have disappeared, the streets have been washed, there are no chairs and temporay stands are partially dismantled.

 

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Then I here the drums again coming towards me up the pedestrianised main street. It is the Virgin herself, carried aloft, and followed by a few religious devotees. Nothing compared to the thousands of the less religious the night before. Watch HERE.

What an experience!

Cusco to La Raya

We left Wanchaq station promptly at 8am and settled into our assigned seats with menus staring us in the face. Lunch was to be served at 1pm and but now a variety of breakfasts were offered.

We slowly wended our way out of Cusco through the urban sprawl, the train’s whistle blasting continually because of traffic and pedestrians. Next came the arable landscape with smallholdings caring for a variety of livestock.

imageWith breakfast over we were usshered into the bar area for a welome chilcano before the cabaret started.!  A small group and a single dancer assailed us with some typical music from Cusco. Now, we noticeably start to climb as our destination is La Raya, the highest we will reach and the highest point at 4319 mtrs that I have reached on this journey. We are now way above the tree line in the altiplano.

imageAt la Raya we were allowed 15 minutes off the train where artesanal sellers lay in wait. Where did they come from ? I asked one of the staff. Apparently their main stalls were hidden only 100  yards away on the Cusco to Puno road and coaches stop there all the time. I didn’t feel so bad about not buying.

Back on the train, table laid and pre-ordered cocktail, waiting. Lunch was a variety of breads, green salad with some fresh orange and grapefruit. Next up was boeuf bougignon and a glass of merlot. By the time the chocolate pudding had arrived I was asleep.

 

 

The end of a great day

After the Belmond I walked back up the hill to Plaza San Blas where the religious festival continued into the night. It was here while I was waiting to be picked up from the quad-biking that himself made an appearance before the 1pm mass. I snapped a quick video of poor quality which you can see HERE but look out for the bellringer at the end

Opposite the door of the church is a restaurant called PachaPapa which is recommended. It has an outdoor courtyard in which sits a woodburning oven.

I chose a whole trout cooked in the outdoor oven with mashed potato, a Peruvian standard. It was great, then home for an early night as taxi arrives at 7am. What a day!