SA 19: Tiwanaku

Well, Bolivia’s most significant archeological site doesn’t really match up to any of the ones we saw in Peru.  Kind of too bad for a civilization that lasted for 3000 years.

The Sun Gate of Tiwanaku

Don’t get me wrong, the site was really cool.  It’s just a matter of scope.  When you’ve been through Machu Picchu, the Nazca Lines and all the other sites on the Inca Trail and in the Sacred Valley, this one, while important, just isn’t as visually impressive.  Still, a cool way to spend the day and learn about an ancient culture I never even knew existed.

Not as cool was our tour guide.  This guy knew his stuff but never told anybody what was happening next, when it was happening, what to expect or why things were happening.  For instance, Tiwanaku has a pyramid which, to be frank, didn’t look that impressive to climb.  However, people were expecting to climb it since every other group at the site got to climb it.  We didn’t and our guy basically said earlier in the day “It’s too windy, we’ll do it later.”  And we didn’t.

Also, as he took us to a place to get lunch, he told us after lunch we would see our last big sight, which, again, most people interpreted as going on top of the pyramid.  There was just no description of what was going on, we kind of just went from place to place and, while it was interesting, it didn’t seem like anybody was really invested in the experience, least of all the guide.

Top it all off, we got dropped off outside of the bus station, a good twenty minute walk from the main square.  Now, the main square is under construction, you can’t drop people there, I get it.  That’s all that you have to say.  Much better than “Okay, we’re at the bus station, this is where we stop, walk down three blocks and turn left”, which were pretty shitty instructions.

We did stop at a couple of great “miradors”, where we got panoramic views of the Cordilleria mountains and of La Paz, but even those were along the lines of “okay, viewpoint, five minutes, back on the bus.”

So, Tiwanaku = neat.  Guide = lazy.

We’re meeting up with Mary and Lisa (from Nazca) for some dinner and then back for a bit more sleep.  Tomorrow we head to a glacier and the Valley of the Moon before finding out the verdict on our bus trip to Chile.  We’ll keep you posted..

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