Cusco is over 11,000 feet (3,399m) so it literally takes your breath away. It takes a couple of days to get used to the high altitude, so I hope you will excuse my temporary silence. It still took a bit of huffing and puffing to walk just a few steps at a shallow incline. I finally got acclimated enough for a full day of visiting Saqsayhuaman and Tambomachay, two Incan ruins outside Cusco. The first showed the extensive construction of terraced walls of sandstone, and the latter showed how the Inca developed and conserved water through irrigation and waterways. The Inca were very concerned about the predominant dryness of the area, and they developed ingenious ways to combat the forces of nature.
The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting Qorikancha, or the Convent of Santa Domingo in town. The Incan priests that preceded the Spanish Catholics constructed thick limestone-surrounded storehouses to stockpile dried potato, quinoa, and other foodstuffs to combat the warm periods caused by El Nino at this site. The priests and nobles shared the food with the peasants when they were unable to produce food.
Before the rain hit in the afternoon, I took a walk around Cusco in the morning. It turned out to be a good idea. It didn’t rain on my parade! Apparently parades with a cast of thousands are held every Sunday to commemorate a school or celebration. Great for tourists like me, who stumbled into colorful event by accident.
Braided Ladies in town were preparing to sell or selling their wares in the Plaza de Armas:
Glimpses of my delightful hotel in the early morning sun reminded me of similar intimate hotel stays in Cappodoccia, Turkey, and in Essaouira, Morocco:
Treated to a room with a view, I made time to sketch!
Last, but not least, the end to a satisfying day was topped by a delicious and adventurous meal of alpaca brochettes at Pachapapa Restaurant. It was lean, well-prepared, and tasted far less gamey than venison. Unfortunately, Jusannah (my new Brazilian friend in Lima) and I ordered the specialty dish of guinea pig the other night but it was cancelled. This restaurant had the dish on the menu, but it would have taken an hour, to prepare and not worth the wait.
The next couple of days will be heavy traveling to Macchu Picchu, so I probably won’t be posting until after I return to Cusco. Keep sending those comments!
3 thoughts on “Day 3-4: Cusco, Peru”
Thanks for pictures and videos. I like your sketch, looks like a postcard. It seems to me you are getting better.
The city of Cusco is so amazing! I can’t imagine that anyone would skip it. Loved Saqsayhuaman – and what a cool little parade you wandered into.
Thanks for confirming the importance of this UNESCO world heritage site despite the inconvenient truth of altitude sickness associated with getting here. Saqsayhuamen was a good overture to seeing Macchu Picchu, and understanding the development of the Inca society. I found myself amongst all the performers in the parade at a left turn corner of the parade route, so it was a picture-taking frenzy! Unfortunately I couldn’t load all the great shots, but everyone could get a sense of the liveliness of the local people. They have a parade nearly every weekend, so it keeps the community engaged and having fun. Thanks for commenting!
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