Cusco - A special place to spend a day or 2

Trip Start Aug 23, 2008
Trip End Sep 28, 2008

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Monday, September 8, 2008

We woke next day and wandered (or I should say staggered) up the little hill from our hotel towards the Plaza de Armas (the beautiful old main square).

We both felt physically pretty ordinary today and not sure why maybe the altitude still playing up on us.

Anyway both our eyes lit up when we spotted the vintage tourist tram sitting in front of The Catedral. A couple of bucks each and we get a tour of the city and outlaying areas with the added bonus of passing by Saqsaywaman.

Saqsaywaman is an archaelogical site 2km from the city. But a tough uphill 2km walk from the city... so yep sounds good - get to see Saqsaywaman (which sounds exactly like sexy woman when the peruvians say it.. but they dont think so.. but anyway we called it sexy women all the time and they would always respond..hee)

Its a huge complex which is said to be considered the first of the new seven wonders of the world. It was planned and built by Andean Man. The Incas called it the House of the Sun and the Spaniards called it a fortress because of its zig-zag shape and the 1536 revolution. The construction, which is made up of three platforms one on top of the other, was one of the most important religious complexes of its time. A fantastic festival is held here every June 24th and would be great to see.

Feeling better after the bit of a relax we then hit the craft markets and then onto the Qorkancha the Convent de Santo Domingo Del Cusco - Supposedly the best and most architecturally interesting structure in the city of Cuzco, but as is often the case with Rob and I we werent overally interested.

The Qorikancha (also called Intiwasa or Sun Temple) was said to have been built by Manco Capac; The first Inka emperor, and built before 1438 when it was enlarged by Pachacuti,the guy who also built Machu Picchu.
In the sixteenth century, the Spanish destroyed the Qorikancha and built the Santo Domingo (St. Dominic) Convent and Church on the ruins, but the basalt foundations are still there and they were pretty amazing to see.

We then walked back up the hill to the lovely area of San Blas which is the artisian section of the city and one of the most colorful ones in Cusco. The streets in this section zigzag between the huge colonial houses that were built in the Inca walls.

The paved and steep streets, the whitish walls, the blue balconies which flowerpots are dangling and the gap roofs with tiles, is why they call the area "The Balcony of Cusco". It was great just going into all the little shops as many of them actually have the artists at work, spinning, weaving, making ceramics. Its like a living art gallery and all of the quality in this area is true craftsmanship so lovely to look at.

And of course as we walked the sound of firecrackers could be heard as they so often do during the day and around the corner came a school parade, but this time real little cuties!

We were lucky that it was a weekend and so there was a handicraft market set up in San Blas Small square... perfect for Rob to sit and have a coke in the sun while I hit the stalls..

An easy day following doing much the same and returning to San Blas for another wander around. Tommorrow morning it is early pickup to hookup with the group and head for Machu Pichu.
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Where I stayed
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