No more ruins
Trip Start Aug 28, 2008
10Trip End Sep 06, 2008
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We purchased the tourist ticket on the first day we were in Peru. It is good for 10 days and includes the entrance fees to 16 sites around the sacred valley (Cusco Cathedral, Museo de Arte Religioso, Iglesia San Blas, Museo Histórico Regional, Museo de Arte y Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Museo Palacio Municipal, Museo de Sitio Qoricancha, Sacsayhuamán, Q'enqo, Puca Pucara, Tambo Machay, Pikillacta, Tipón, Pisac ruins, Ollantaytambo ruins, Chinchero ruins)
First stop was Sacsayhuamán. This was the most impressive ruin we saw this day. The rocks that were used at Sacsayhuamán were much bigger than at any other ruins. Some of the rocks weighed over 120 tons. And these rocks were just what has been excavated so far. Typically the biggest rocks were on the bottom of the building, Sacsayhuamán was still mostly underground yet to be excavated, so who knows what was underneath. Also, in Sacsayhuamán, a lot of the stones were configured in a way that resembles animals. The 3 sacred animals to the incans were the snake (underground), puma (ground level), and condor (heavens). These three levels were represented in numerous ways through the incan cross and in the buildings. Other animal shapes that can be seen in the walls were llamas and guinea pigs.
Next stop was Q'enqo, which was across the street from Sacsayhuamán
The tour was finally over and Jenny asked us if we would like to check out an alpaca shop. This was our third one, but "we" (as in Amy) is a sucker for shopping. Jenny explained that sweaters are much cheaper here since her friend didn't have to pay for rent and we had to be careful buying sweaters in the market because often times they were made of "maybe alpaca" which is to confuse the gringos into thinking it is baby alpaca. So we stopped by her friends shop. I don't think Jenny should have used the term friend, I think the correct term is employer or coworker. If you have ever been to the south of France, this store reminded me of Fragonard. You think you are getting the real deal, but it turns out this is a tourist trap. The prices were reasonable though. We walked in and the ladies working there told us the difference between baby alpaca (the softest fur up until the first cut), alpaca (all subsequent cuts), and maybe alpaca (fake alpaca)
We are finally done with the driver and tour guide. Richard dropped us off at the Plaza de Armas and agreed to take our sweaters back to Torre Dorrado for us. Jenny hopped out of the car with us and recommended Jack's Cafe. It was customary to buy the tour guide lunch, but Jenny needed to get back
After lunch we walked around the Plaza de Armas. We stopped by the great Cusco Cathedral, then went on to the Incan Museum. We finally got to see all of the artifacts that were once housed in the ruins. Unfortunately Hiram Bingham, the Yale professor who "founded" Machu Picchu, stole most of the artifacts and brought them back to Yale. So the museum mostly consisted of Pre-Inca and Post-Inca artifacts. Fairly interesting regardless. Also in the museum was a giant replica of MP, so Amy and I showed off our knowledge pointing out all the locations we went to. Perhaps I will go to the hobby store and create a replica of my own.
Tired of history, we walked down Ave El Sol. You could actually see less and less gringos as we got further away from Plaza de Armas. It was quite comical. Rafael told us we were perfectly safe to walk around, as long as we didn't leave the main avenue
We called up Rafael, and 5 minutes later a driver was there to take us back to the hotel. After a long day we just wanted to relax. We went into the common area where Amy completed a few crossword puzzles, while I watched a second epi of Lost. This time it was Kate's flashback from the first season. We then got ready for dinner and went back to the Plaza de Armas. Rafael recommended the Inka Grill which is supposed to be one of the really nice restaurants in Cusco, right on the west side of the square. Amy got the ravioli, and I orderd the lamito saltado. Sorry David, but this saltado is the best in Peru, even better than your restaurant in Ollantaytambo. I was quite worried about the price, since I only had 100 soles left in my pocket, but luckily for me, dinner for 2 at one of the nicest restaurants in Cusco only costs 90 soles ($30). Who said the American dollar was weak? We walked around the square some more, then called Rafael to pick us up and to end the night.