I've been following an old Spanish Colonial road, one they lovingly call a highway, though potholed packed dirt/mud with few bridges to cross the raging runoff streams - plunge right in. The 17th- and 18th-century towns established by Spaniards for Spaniards look identical to ones of the same era in Spain and in Mexico, in architecture and design, and with the mountainous backdrop, it's easy to see Galicia in every town. Red terrecotta-tiled roofs on stone or adobe houses with stone lintels and doorframes. Very much Spanish style. At the lower elevations, below the treeline, beehive hornos are everywhere. Many of the churches have the typical Gallego three-tiered bell tower, though here they lack the ubiquitous stork's nests of northern Spain. Some of the churches are plain on the outside yet loaded with gilded treasures and painting on the inside; others are the opposite with carved masonry on the grand portals yet plain on the inside. Interesting. On the other hand, the slightly younger towns built for Peruvians contain Spanish Mission style churches that look very much like the ones of the same era in the American southwest.
Incan and pre-Incan remnants abound, some of which are noted for tourists others not. It's amazing, though logical, that some of the ancient circular stone buildings with grass roofs are still lived in by the alpaqueros. More common are the adobe houses with either grass or corrogated metal roofs. The life of the animal-tenders is pretty simple, and little has changed about it in the centuries with the noted exception of cellphones - everyone's got one, from the small children to the grandmothers out there tending their flocks. They have a funny idea that during the daily thunderstorms, using a cellphone puts one in a protective bubble of electrical neutrality and they can't get struck by lightning. They hunker down under the cover of their heavy alpaca blankets and chat away during the storms. They laugh at me walking in my rain gear and offer me blankets to keep my dry - even a dry one weighs a lot more than my whole backpack! I'll stick to Gortex.
The pilgrim route to Mexico divides itself into natural stages and the arrival of Cusco completes the first major etape, about a third of the way. The second major chunk of the globe is between here and the Darian Gap between Colombia and Panama. This might take until April-ish. The next smaller subdivision is making my way to Lima, again along old Spanish Colonial roads, which of course are largely on top of Incan Roads, themselves on top of earlier transits.