Saturday, April 7, 2012
We have the morning to ourselves today as our excursion doesn’t start until the afternoon. So we actually get an extra hour of sleep before we partake of a complimentary fruit breakfast in the hotel. The city of Cusco is just over 11,000 feet (3400 meters) above sea level and we are getting very well acclimatized to the altitude. We stroll into the city square and you’d never know there were thousands of revelers here last night. One thing we see in all places we visit here are balconies. They are commonly painted bright colors that rarely match the attached building.
There are more than one church here and it is a very photogenic square. We decide to have an early lunch and we choose “Incanto Ristorante”. We manage to relax over lunch (I don’t remember what we had) and then it’s back outside for some more photos. Two girls dressed in native garb pose for me as we attempt to visit the inside of a church. I manage to take a couple photos before I am told to put the camera away. Oh well, I tried! But I did capture a photo of the painting of the “Last Supper” with a guinea pig depicted as being served!
We see more “INRI” crucifixes and everywhere we go, they put these up for the working people. On each “INRI”, they attach the tools that the local workers use. “INRI” stands for Jesus, in Latin it means, “Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum”
Next we see several examples of different generations of stone work, some more finessed than others.
It is now noon and our bus has arrived to pick us up. We ride for about an hour and arrive at another set of ruins, this one named, “Sacsaywaman”. We chuckle at the word, especially when it is spoken out loud. (Go ahead, say it) Here we get to see and touch amazing stone work constructed thousands of years ago. The stones are carved and stacked perfectly and a piece of paper won’t even fit between them! There is no modern knowledge of how this was done. When the Spaniards invaded Peru in the 1500s, they destroyed quite a lot of Inca building. Modern engineers have attempted to repair this damage and you can see how inferior it is, almost like child’s play in comparison! In the distance, a statue similar to “Christ The Redeemer” is on a hilltop but we never get very close to it.
We then travel a short distance to the home of “Huiracocha”, the god of water. Here, Huiracocha and “Pachamama” (Mother Earth) resided and they say these waters are the purest on earth. (Pronunciations are “Ware-a-ko-cha” and “paach-A-mama”) Once again, vendors display their colorful wares for sale!
A short walk from Huiracocha, we find another set of ruins, the name of which eludes me. I tried to research it to no avail. The sun is setting and the day is coming to a close.
Back in Cusco, we find a new restaurant to try and another great meal is had!
See you tomorrow!