Friday, February 28, 2014

Cusco

I know, I'm falling way behind...it's already March and we've almost been back a whole month!

The night we arrived in Cusco we walked around a bit to get familiar with the area - really cute town with narrow streets and cool looking buildings.

These are the same roads that cars go down too

In the morning, I found another door I liked, yay!

Yes, same street as the night before...narrow and used for pedestrians and cars!

Hotel was conveniently located

Cool streets

Plaza de Armas


Looking at the Cusco Cathedral through the rain stained window

Our first stop was a tour of Qorikancha, an Inca built temple to worship the sun from the early 1400's. The Spanish had destroyed it in the 16th century to build Santo Domingo Convent and Church but because of an earthquake in 1950, Qorikancha was rediscovered.

Symmetric

Real life Lego pieces

Santo Domingo Covenant and Church

Santo Domingo Covenant courtyard

We then headed back to the Plaza de Armas for a tour of the Cusco Cathedral.

Cusco Cathedral to the left and Templo de la Compañía de Jesús to the right 

Cusco Cathedral and Plaza de Armas

We got a tour of the church

No photos were allowed inside so I took a good amount of the outside

We learned how to tell the difference between local and Spanish artists

Entrance

Templo de la Compañía de Jesús

We then went to check out Saqsaywaman (pronounced to sound kind of like "sexsay woman"). Some believe this was a fortress and other believe it was used for a religious site. Either way, the ruins are pretty impressive. Some of the stones weigh up to 200 tons!

Of course it started to rain

Big stones

Pretty surroundings

Very interesting place to visit

It was nice to get some blue skies

A nice couple took a photo for us but didn't take it of the doorway, which was the focal point

The stones don't look that big from here

It is estimated that up to 20,000 people helped build this complex


It reminded me a little of Stonehenge - somewhere I have always been wanting to visit!

The large stone on the right is the largest?

Moving these stones must have been some job!

You could see Cristo Blanco from here!

Not quite as big as the one in Rio

Built in 1945

Yes, this is a real alpaca

One more shot of Cristo Blanco

Another place we checked out was Qenqo Temple. This is where the Incas would perform rituals leading up to the mummification of their leaders.

We got to walk through a cave to see where they place the bodies

Here we go

This stone was ice cold - a good way to preserve the bodies before mummification

The view from around the corner

Cusco

Our last stop of the day was Tambomachay, another archeological site of the Inca Empire

These terraced waterfalls were made by the Incas

We ended the day with a demonstration of how to tell the difference to between real / baby alpaca and "maybe" alpaca. If I had a nickel ever time someone said this to us while in Peru...we could have paid for one of the baby alpaca sweaters that Paul got! Don't worry, baby alpaca just means that it's the first shave of a baby alpaca's fleece - there is no killing of baby alpacas. They are protected in Peru.

The next day we headed towards the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo.


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