More Cuzco

Trip Start Aug 05, 2005
Trip End Aug 21, 2005

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Only a half day touring today in Cuzco area. We start at Sacsayhuaman, a temple above the city. It was the site of a battle between the Spaniards and Inka. It got the reputation of being a fort, but was more likely a temple. Wide central walkway. Structure of stone-piled up and carved out of the rocks- to the right and left. The right side has more- walks, doorways, stairs leading up to an over look of the city. The foundation walls are massive. Across the way is more of a hill, with steps carved in leading up to a platform on the top. They may have been building a temple structure on the top. Much of it is in ruins from the battle & destruction afterward. There are lights hooked up- must be an impressive sight at night.

Then we head on the Qenko- just up the hill. Apparently a powerful religious site. A rock has been channeled out to allow passage- like a maze inside the rock. There are carved out throne chairs and a Huaca. We all take turns sitting on the throne for our photos.

Then we head up the road again and drive by Puca Pucara. This may have been an Inkan guard post, but there's little left except crumbling walls. We're actually en route to Tambomachay- a spring flowing from a rock. The Inka may have used this as a purification site. They covered up and channeled the spring to pour out of the rock face. The place is surrounded by vendors- they've laid their colorful wares out on the side of the road- patchwork quilts of coloring.

So, that's it for the official tours today. Danise and I quickly drop off stuff & cleanup, then have a quick lunch at the cafe. A troop of our fellows follow us in.

Afterward, we head off down past the Temple of the Sun/Moon to Ave Sol and walk toward the Plaza Armas. We pick the shady side of the street despite the cool air. On occasion the sun hits us and it's intense- my skin wants nothing to do with it.

We wander in and out of several shops on the plaza, bumping into only two people we know- hooray! Some very nice looking alpaca sweaters are very tempting. I pick up a few things for the family.

Unfortunately, my stomach starts rumbling, so we start walking back toward the hotel. We come across a series of leather shops- leatherworkers row!

Back at the hotel, we settle in on the "mirador"- a baloney just down the hall from our rooms. Danise is a physical therapist and starts showing me how to massage my quad muscles to improve my knee- it's been killing me especially getting in and out of the bus. It does feel better afterward.

I hit the hay for a short nap, getting up about 5pm. I have the last 2 postcards to finish. Then I head down to the front desk to pay my bill- we've been warned there's several hundred checking out in the morning.

At the desk, I also pick up the CD's for Danise and I from the band- pipes & guitar- that had played during lunch in the cafe. I run out to the little store up the street to buy water & stop in an alpaca store next door. I end up with one of those tempting sweaters.

Back to the room to begin the divide and pack process- we need to leave our big bags and only carry enough with us for 2 nights We'll travel up the Urubamba river tomorrow to Yucay and then catch the MP Train from there. We'll return to Cuzco for one night after MP.

Dinner is as usual at the hotel. I'm not much interested in eating but I know I'll need something. Other folks have been sick now- Nancy stayed in the hotel our first day in Cuzo; Mielena is eating just rice; Tom & Linda both have migraines from the altitude. It's an early night since we leave at 7:30 for the drive up the valley.
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