Reflections and images from my travels

Cusco City Tour

This was our last day in Cusco before we depart on our trek. Both Anna and I were not really feeling well this morning. We seem to have really been compromised since yesterday. Some gastrointestinal symptoms, lassitude and mild headaches. However, we were able to go out on our final tour with Leo. We told him to keep it pretty easy.

Most of our time was spent in a large park just on the outer edges of Cusco called Sacsayhuaman. the pronunciation of this name is very similar to “sexy woman”. There are many archaeological dig sites and we had the opportunity to view several of them-Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, Kenko and Q’enqo.  We were filled with an appreciation of the skill and the capabilities of the Incas with regards to stonework. It is truly amazing that they were able to build such complex structures and Anna was convinced that they had alien help. There really doesn’t seem to be any other logical explanation. We then visited the Inca Museum which provided an interesting juxtaposition of Inca stonework and colonial architecture. There was a beautiful courtyard that you will see in the attached pictures.

We had a really nice lunch-although we did not eat very much-in San Blas- this neighborhood, home to artisans, as well as their work- and craft shops, is one of the most picturesque in the city. Its cobblestone streets are steep and narrow, lined with old houses built by the Spanish over important Inca foundations. It has an attractive square with a delightful little colonial church featuring an intricately carved pulpit considered to represent the zenith of colonial-era local woodcarving.

Leo then dropped us off at our hotel for a two-hour break which was much appreciated. We then walked to the Cathedral located in the central square also known as the Plaza de Armas. The opulence of the numerous altars housed within this enormous cathedral was breathtaking. Pictures were not allowed so you will just have to come to Cusco yourselves! This very imposing building was constructed on the foundations of the palace of Viracocha Inca. Built between 1560 and 1664, its interior has a variety of different architectural styles, ranging from the late-Gothic to the Baroque. “El Señor de los Temblores”, or The Lord of Tremors, a massive crucifix, is venerated by faithful Catholics all over Peru. The cathedral harbors outstanding examples of religious art, especially paintings from the distinctive colonial-era “Cuzco School”, such as the Last Supper depicting Jesus and the Twelve Apostles feasting on guinea pig, a traditional Andean delicacy. We then walked back to our hotel and had a heartfelt parting with Leo. He was an extremely passionate, environmentally aware guide who really went out of his way to make sure that he kept us away from the large crowds. He really added to the overall experience of our time in Cusco.

In the evening we had a meeting with our guides for the upcoming trek- Raoul and Ricardo- and the other participants on our upcoming journey. There are twelve of us in total. We both have a little trepidation for the upcoming trek based on how we’ve been feeling over the last two days. However, the tour guide is extremely reassuring and it appears the operation is very well run. We are both sure we will have an amazing experience. I will not be blogging during the 7 days that we will be out on the trek. I will be able to let you know of our experiences during the trek when we return to Cusco May 2 2014.

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