Perú is usually synonymous with Machu Picchu, and you need to look a little deeper to realise that the Incas weren’t the only people here. My first moment of this insight was during a visit to Huaca Pucllana over two years ago. Lately, a trip to the Ayacucho region gave us the opportunity to visit the Wari ruins, near the quaint little town of Quinua.
Not much is known about the Wari civilisation, but from the archeological site, it is clear that their architecture very likely inspired Inca structures that followed, specifically the stone masonry. The multi-storeyed tombs are impressive.
We were also introduced to the tuna fruit (prickly pear) that grows wild on cactus, and tastes like a juicy mini-papaya. Souvik ate it with gusto, until I mentioned ‘papaya’ which tends to put him off.
I had high hopes of walking through the town of Quinua, known for its handicrafts and pottery, roof ornaments in particular.
But the main road into town was being reconstructed, and most workshops were shut on Sunday. We did march into a few and came away with a number of cheeky souvenirs.
The locals appeared visibly distressed by the delay in the road construction, and were spending their Sunday arguing in the town square.
Who can blame them? This pretty town with its gorgeous views had come to a standstill because the road was taking forever.
We had started the day at the Pampas de Ayacucho – the memorial site of the famous battle. Overcast skies and rain couldn’t spoil our mood for exploring the site early in the morning, even before the souvenir shops had opened. We were rewarded for our early bird efforts with a delicious breakfast of sautéed spinach and dehydrated potatoes.