Trip Start Jan 26, 2009
27Trip End Mar 27, 2009
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One of our fellow cruisers, Carla Marraffino from Toronto, Ontario, had organized an interesting tour and we were lucky enough to be allowed to tag along: who says money does not talk. Our busload of happy tourists headed south to an extensive archaeological site managed by the National Cultural Institute. The exact numbers escape me but I think the site was around 400+ acres, most of which has yet to be excavated. Ruins throughout the site extend back in time for some 5000 years and through many cultures. The Ychsma ruins are the most extensively excavated but the largest pyramid was that constructed by the Inca nation.
We headed back into the city to the main square with the Presidential palace. The site of the present Presidential palace has been continuously occupied by the residence of the head of state for several thousand years. Inca and earlier tribes occupied the site and when the Spanish conquered Peru they established their own palace on the same site. To one side of the Presidential palace is the national church built by the Spanish on the foundation of an Inca pyramid.
Near the main square was the oldest church in the city. It was Sunday so the main church was not open to tourists but we were able to enter the catacombs below the church which, in a word, were 'interesting'. If you are not comfortable in hot, dank, confined spaces stay away from the catacombs. A somewhat gruesome trip into the underworld but interesting nonetheless. Photos, unfortunately, were not allowed.
At last we climbed out of the halls of the dead into bright sun and clear air and headed across town to a large craft market where we did our very best to pay off the Peruvian national debt before heading for a local restaurant for a buffet lunch... burp!