Breakfast this morning at 6:30. Some members of our group were having laundry done by a local lady who collected the clothes at the hotel, laundered and returned them to the hotel for 10 soles per kilogram or about $2 per pound. She was in the lobby at 6:30 to pick them up and would return them by 1:30 this afternoon. Pretty good service…
Kay made the observation that it was very hard to dress for Cusco. It is quite cool in the morning but gets very warm later in the day, especially in the sun. You just had to layer and remove!
We left the hotel by bus and traveled a short distance to the old colonial section of Cusco to the square the Plaza de Armas (it seems every Latin America town of any size has one). Here we visited Cusco Cathedral. The entire inside is covered in gold leaf and there are numerous very large paintings done by painters of the era. The Cathedral was completed in 1654, almost 100 years after construction began. Unfortunately no photography is allowed in the church, plus the fact that we were visiting during non-tourist hours. Edgar said that if anyone asked to tell them we came to pray. Well, it being a church I didn’t feel too compelled to lie, so I prayed….
Not sure what Edgar, Bea and Frank are looking at, but it must be interesting…
A view from the square. There are numerous Catholic churches here, established by different sects.
Below of course are photos of my favorite subject…
Spanish repair of an Inca wall. Can you guess which is the Spanish work?
We visited the Church of Santo Domingo and Coricancha. The church is built on the ruins of the famous Inca site of Coricancha – The golden courtyard, which was known literally for its gold. This was of course looted by the conquistadors and most of the gold was melted down. All that remains today is the fine Inca stonework. Unlike the Spanish architecture, the Inca wall has withstood all of the major earthquakes that have rocked Cusco.
While visiting here I saw a display of bas relief carvings which were for sale. After consideration, we returned in the afternoon and made a purchase.
Our travels carried us up the mountain to Sacsayhuaman, the most significant ruin in the Cusco area. It is thought that Sacsayhuaman was built to be a fortress with both military and religious significance. Only about 20% of the original site remains. Up until the 1930s blocks from Sacsayhuaman were being hauled away to use for construction in Cusco. Most of the largest stones, some which measure over 24 feet tall and weigh up to 360 tons were left.
Edgar pointing out the size of the stones.
After Sacsayhuaman we went to a field and met a Pago or Healer. He is not a priest, but one who has studied and believes in the healing power of ancient Inca rituals. The ceremony was quite formal and impressive. Edgar explained that OATS, uses three different Healers in their tours. The healers all walk to the ceremony and walk home. One of the healers comes so far he must overnight in a cave. It is part of the ritual they celebrate.
Bill being administered to by the Pago. We each had our turn.
From here we made our way back into town to have lunch at a delightful local restaurant, La Casona del Inka.
I liked their “happy house” signs as Gustavo our Galapagos leader liked to call them….
Our group enjoying our meal. Well, actually we had just finished.
Unfortunately not all of our experiences in Cusco were good. As mentioned earlier Candy was having some difficulty in Machu Picchu and Edgar had a physician see her at our hotel. It was found that her blood pressure was quite low and was recommended she be admitted to the hospital. This was done the first night we arrived back in Cusco. We learned to our sadness that Candy had decided to return to the States and not complete the trip. Edgar asked if we would like to visit her before we departed tomorrow for Ecuador. Of course we did!
This is the outside of the hospital where she was located. It was very modern and we were really impressed with Candy’s room.
As you can see, we were all allowed to visit and there was room for a dozen more people. It was good to see Candy and she was certainly surprised because she was not expecting us.
After we returned to our hotel, Janet, Carl, Kay and I walked back to the plaza area and acquired the carving mentioned earlier. On the way I managed to get a few more portraits.
This evening Edgar had a great surprise for us. He said he had never done this in 35 years of being a tour guide; he invited us to visit his home and meet his family. What a great honor and what a great family. Thank you Edgar. After our visit we journeyed on to the restaurant “Mammacha”. Unfortunately I did not make a note, but I believe we were served goat. At any rate it was good.
Well, we have to be up early tomorrow to catch our flight to Lima and then an international connecting flight to Quito.