Friday, July 26, 2013

Cusco, Thurs the 25th

Wed, the 24th.  We  were  up  early   to fly  to Lima,  then  on  to Cusco.  It  was  cloudy   and  cool  in Lima   but   the sky  was clear in Cusco.   Still  a  lot  cooler than  Quito.  We  got  to our  hotel,  my  room  is  on the  first floor  off  a  beautiful  courtyard.  I  have my  own  room  here  which  is  nice  for a break.  I slept  hard  for  about  3  hours  and   when  I  came  to  it  was  getting  dark  and  cool  enough  for  long  pants  and  a   jacket.  I  went  to  a  restaurant  just  across  the  street  and  had a  little  dinner.  We're  going  to  do  a   city  tour  tomorrow, nothing strenuous,  the  altitude  is  really  noticeable.   I  have  a  little  headache  and  feel  just  a  little  short of breath.  Hit   the  hay  early  as   travel had been  tiring. 

The next morning our  tour director, Roberto,  took  us  on an expedition into  the  city.  First  stop   was  San Pedro, the  local  market,   so  cool,  we  saw  where the  locals shop  and   eat.  All  types  of meat, cheese,  bread,  vegetables.   Potatoes and corn  are very   important crops  here  and  there are   hundreds  of  varieties  of both.  We  walked  out to the  main  square  which was packed with people  participating in celebrations  for  Peru's  independence day  which is  the 28th.  School  kids  and   soldiers  marching  in  front  a  a  review stand  of government officials.   It was  a  great  way  to see  the  local color.   I went to the  Incan  museum  which had   a  lot  of  great   pre-columbian  artifacts.  There  were 2 women  weaving in the courtyard  and I  watched  them for  a  long time.    After that  I went back  out  onto  the  plaza  and  found   a   little place to have  a  sandwich  where  I could  sit and watch  all  the  people.   Went back  to the  hotel   to  meet  up  with  the   group.   First  stop  was  Koricancha,  the  Temple  of  the  Sun,  like  many  structures you  can  see  the  foundations that  the  Incas built    with  the  modifications  the  Spanish  made  when  they   took   over.   Then  to  a  magnificent   cathedral.  One  of  the  largest  and  most ornate I've  ever  seen.  So   much  gold  and  silver ,  religious items made from   melted down  pieces from  the   Incans.  Next  to  Sacsahuaman,  an  area  where  the  priests conducted  private  religious  services  for  the  ruling class.   They  also  prepared mummies on  this   site.   We  had  a  group dinner  at  Tunupa  Grill,  a  nice  place  with  a  huge  buffet.  There  was  also  a group  of indigenous  musicians  and   some  folk  dancers. A  looooong   day, esp  with  the  thin  air  at  this  altitude.

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