Day 109 - Pachacuteq monument and Saqsayhuaman

Trip Start Jun 14, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Peru  , Quintana Roo,
Sunday, September 29, 2013

We both needed a good nights rest after yesterday's massive day and we both enjoyed a good sleep in. We got up and made our way down to Starbucks for breakfast. After that we decided to get as much done off the list of 16 things on our Cusco tourist ticket. We first went to another museum a block or two up from the main plaza, this one had a lot of historical art works, most of them were religious works of certain saints and biblical stories. In the rooms at the end there were a few videos and information on important people, one was Tupac Arman the last Inca that revolted against the Spanish and was killed in plaza de Aramas in Cusco, the other was a famous writer with the last name Vega who was the son of a Spanish General and his mother and Inca lady, born 8 years after the Spanish took over Peru, so he was a half breed, he fled Peru when he was 20 to go to Spain to claim property left by his deceased relative, he stayed there and joined the Spanish army and became a very important general, once he got older he begun to write about his time in Peru, the Inca culture and the history, his writing became the famous books of the Inca and history and his ashes were even in the cathedral in the main plaza. After that we walked across to a park that had a mini food festival going on, we looked around and sampled a few things like chicha which is a kind of Peruvian red wine, chocolate, and treats and I had a mango ice drink. Then we walked right down Avendia Sol to a massive monument overlooking Cusco right in the middle of the Main Street, the Pachacuteq monument. Pachacuteq was a very important Inca, he was the designer of a lot of inca cities like Machu Picchu and brains behind a lot of the ingenious ideas, also his son Tupac was the last Inca who was killed by the Spanish in Cusco after he revolted against the Spaniards. The monument stands on top of a tower, much like the inside of a lighthouse, you go up a staircase that runs along the circular inner wall, on each level there is more information on Pachacuteq and the Inca culture, until you get to the top and walk out onto the lookout which looks out over Cusco and up and down the main streets at the feet of the massive monument of Pachacuteq. Again it was pretty informative and in the last few days we've learnt a lot about the Inca culture. The lookout was pretty good too. On the way back up avendia Sol we looked through some more markets and saw a really great water fountain you could walk behind. After walking back up into the main plaza we headed back to the hotel for a bit. Then we decided we would walk our way up to the ruins up the top of the hill behind the hostel. These ruins are called Saqsayhuaman and are on the ticket of 16 things to do in Cusco. We walked our way up the hill towards the ruin site, walking up hills in Cusco is extremely difficult due to the high altitude and the thin air. We huffed and puffed our way up the walkway, at one point a local ran past us, making us feel pretty unfit, but I guess he is used to the air up here. Near the top there was a guy on a mountain bike, as we walked past we both held our breath so he couldn't hear how out of breath we were, then when we got far enough past we both stood with hands on hips getting our breath back, it's crazy we are not unfit people, we walk a lot, especially on this trip we've walked and been to the gym and kept fit but trying to do anything at this altitude is very difficult, we are both glad we didn't attempt the 4 day Inca trail. Once at the top we got our tickets stamped and headed into the ruins, it was late afternoon and with the clouds about it was getting a bit dark which made taking photos difficult. The ruin site was pretty good, the stones that make up the walls to the ruins were huge, from what we learnt they would roll the massive stones up hills on logs of wood using only man power, then chisel them to fit the walls, no clay or mortar was used, just very good chiseling. It was a fairly big ruins site that spread in a few spots over the top of the hill, in some spots just like at Machu Picchu the natural rocks of the mountain were used as part of the construction on the city and other rocks were placed around it. The best part of the ruin site was a short walk behind the main area that went to a lookout that looked right over Cusco, the view is absolutely incredible, our photos didn't do it justice because it was getting dark, but we stayed up there for a while just looking out over this great ancient city and just like the thin air it took our breaths away. Over on the opposite hill a short 10 minute walk away was the Jesus monument that looks over the city. We had seen this monument glowing on the hill from the main plaza a few times and wanted to go up and check it out so we walked across. A bit like the Jesus monument in Brazil this big white Jesus statue with his arms spread wide looks over the city, the view from there is also as good as the lookout and by this time the lights in the city had begun to glow so we got to see the night lights of Cusco from this great vantage point. As we got to the Jesus monument a big family was just leaving, they had a tiny car, from memory there was 4 kids and 3 adults and they all pilled in like a clown car or one of the cars we saw at the safari in Puebla Mexico packed like sardines in a tin. While we were checking out the monument and the view a few of the kids got out and 1 adult and came back to ask to have a photo with Bobbie, which she of course accepted. Once night fell we walked back down the hill, the walk down is a hell of a lot easier. Once back at the hotel we thought about what we would have for dinner, we headed out in search for another hidden gem, there are lots in this city. We walked around for a while checking menus and prices out the front of restaurants, some didn't look great some where too expensive. After a while we found a small place that looked good and reasonably priced. We headed in, we felt like wine so we ordered a bottle of white. We ended up having a delicious meal and a great dining experience, I had a sirloin with mushroom sauce and veggies and Bobbie had a vegetarian lasagna. While we were enjoying our food and celebrating bobbies birthday yesterday with our wine two musicians came in and played 6 songs, 3 Spanish, 3 English. While they were playing the Spanish songs I mentioned to Bobbie they look like the Spanish John and Paul from the Beatles, due to the long hair, kind of hippie look and one wearing round John Lennon glasses, then once they started on the English songs they played who else but the Beatles, they also did Pink Floyd. We left the restaurant feeling great and as though we had found another hidden gem is Cusco. We walked back to our hostel, due to running out of gas for the shower we had not been able to shower since Friday night, the girl was very apologetic, but due to the strike and the weekend she couldn't get more until early Monday morning, which meant we would be without a shower for 3 days and after Machu Picchu and all the walking we've done, we had to do something. So that night we boiled a heap of water and we had basin baths, which was pretty funny, the things you have to do when traveling on a budget.
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