Good Friday, April 6, 2012
We arrive at the Temple of Wiracoccha in Raqchi. This is one of the largest archaeological sites in Peru. The Spaniards destroyed most of it and built their own Catholic Church on the site. It is not known the full reasons for this site but it is speculated it was a barracks for the Inca soldiers. The Temple was the largest roof in the Inca empire. It was 302 feet by 84 feet. (92 meters by 25.5 meters). Some ingenious designs such as stair steps as depicted in the first photo were just an example of Inca brilliance. Custom water systems were an Inca staple.
Wiracoccha was a deity to the Inca, believed to be the giver of all life and the ‘Creator God’. The Temple was built as a tribute to him. It is said that he made fire fall from the sky and burn the area when in reality it was lava from the nearby Volcano of Quimsa Chata. So the Temple was built to recognize the event.
Our bus drives on to Cajamarca where we stop and visit another small town and the Virgen Dolorosa church that is decorating for Easter. The detailed stone plaza has been intrinsically laid. Colorful vendors again line the street displaying their wares. Carved stone figurines of Dolorosa line the street outside the church.
We drive on and pass by a Sun Gate similar to the “Intipunku” of Machu Picchu. On a specific day and time, we are told, the sun rises and shines through the sun gate, illuminating a specific object. Shortly thereafter we descend into Cusco at just over 11,000 feet (3400 meters). We see the “Monumento Inca Pachacutec” as we go through town. The sun sets behind the overcast skies as we arrive at our hotel.
We check in to our clean and comfortable room and leave the hotel in search of food. We walk the 3 blocks to the main square past pretty fountains and come across throngs of worshipers celebrating “Semana Santa”, a mix of Catholicism and Inca traditions. No sooner has the procession passed and the thousands of revelers are gone and the square is empty. So a few night photos are added to my collection.
We find the “Inka Grill” and get seated for dinner. I order Roasted Guinea Pig and it is amazingly delicious. Hundreds of bones make me look like a chipmunk as I gingerly nibble at the meal. A friendly diner from France that we strike up a conversation with poses for a fun photo!
We are tired and don’t want to walk back uphill to our hotel. We have been warned in advance not to hail a taxi ourselves as there are some unscrupulous taxi drivers in the area. We have been instructed to have a restaurant or hotel call for the taxi for us. Well, we have already left the restaurant so what should we do? Then we spot a police car with an officer sitting in it. We approach him and get the message to him that we need a taxi and he gets out, puts two fingers in his mouth and whistles at a taxi. He goes to the driver and has some strong words with him. Then he signals us to get in.
The taxi driver appears terrified and drives us straight to our hotel with his knuckles glued to the wheel. We pay him and he doesn’t drive off until we have gotten safely inside the hotel. We chuckle and wonder whar the police officer told him and retire for the night.