The Sacred valley of THe Incas and Macchu Picchu
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So how did Cusco come to be Cusco as we know it today.... time for the history part, Cusco in the native Quecha language means naval of the earth, the 1st Inca Manco Capac was sent by the Sun God to find the naval of the earth, he stumbled across Cusco and decided this was the place.
Cant blame him the surroundings of Cusco are amazing, 3400 metres high with a stunning backdrop, all the houses appear like they are hanging of the edge of a cliff, then the main square in the middle of the city with its centre piece of a cathedral that took a 100 years to build, it now hosts lots of Colonial art including their own interpretation of The Last Supper, the local delicacy over here is the guinea pig and that is what Jesus is eating...
Also went to visit the Santo Domingo convent which used to be full of gold and other treasures until Pizarro of Spain came and conquered Cusco and robbed the whole lot.
Spent a lot of time in Cusco eating lots of desserts (thanks to Stephens auntie Joan and the fact that Peru has the most amazing desserts), then trying to stumble up the hill to our hostel, altitude is a killer..... also got to meet up with my buddy Aisling from college who just happened to stumble into Cusco the same day as us... oh its a small world after all... also very early mornings as the local schools like to march over here, they parade around the main square for hours to very loud music and they also happened to be practising beside our hostel at 6 in the morning, but seeing the sweat pouring off these kids heads nearly made me feel sorry for them.....
We decided to stop of in one of the small towns in the Sacred Valley on the way to the Macchu Picchu, we fell in love with this place, there is big Inca fortress here and the Spanish lost a major battle here, lovely cobblestone streets, just sitting back watching how the locals live, actually makes you quite sad, a lot of families have to abandon the older members of their family here as they cant afford to feed them, at 2800 metres high, this place is freezing at night, people walking for miles around mountains, carrying cereals, water, whatever they can find to survive..
Aguas Calientes and Macchu Picchu,
Following day we catch the train upto the final town before Macchu Picchu, bed early as early rise at 5 to get the 1st bus up for the sunrise.
5:15am, realise we are not the only ones hoping to catch the sunrise...huge queue for bus but we on the bus at 5:30 and what a drive up the mountain.... getting all excited at what lies ahead. Nothing could prepare us, this place is literally perched on top of a mountain, no wonder Macchu Picchu was not discovered until 1911, mindblowing is not the word, trying to imagine how the Incas constructed this, cant imagine how the hell they got all the stones up here to build all the temples, agricultural terraces, houses etc.
Decided to do a bit of climbing.... climbed to the top of the guardtower for the most spectucular view ever, panoramic view of the two mountains Huanu Picchu and Macchu Pichu and watching the clouds move over them to reveal the blue sky and the scenery underneath, just sat there for few hours taking it all in.
Another walk to the Inca drawbride with narrow cliff hanging trail with vertical drop of 2600 metres into the valley, not for the fainthearted but what a view.
All in all a day to remember apart from the fact we found out the potato was first discovered in Peru.... not in Ireland.... shock horror.... i am sure all those famine victims are turning in their graves...
As we have mentioned before Peru loves a strike, well i guess the government is so corrupt they have to fight for their rights, but it is only a week since the last strike....
Arrive back in our lovely little town Ollantaytumbo to find out their is a strike threatened for the next day. Next morning the strike sure has started, no shops or restaurants open and we are hungry. People demonstrating everywhere, eventually we find a restaurant at 3pm that day that we have to sneak in the back door and are advised not to sit beside the window as likely to get a rock in the face if they find out customers in there
Then we see pictures of what the locals have done to block the roads... pushed boulders of the mountains... these guys mean business... realise not a hope of getting out of here the next day. We feeling a little sorry for ourselves until we meet people that are going to miss their flights and not get the chance to see Macchu Picchu now....
Eventually get out of there 2 days later.... car ride down was an adventure... trying to make our way round the boulders...
All in all amazing few days... could have been stuck in a worse place... we defo had plenty of time to totally immerse ourselves in Inca culture.... xx
P.s.... we will upload photos as soon as one of these computers decide they want to work properly..xx