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.