The city who’s name in Quechua, means ‘navel of the world’. It was the capital of the Inca Empire and so I’m excited to be going there. As we fly in from Arequipa the colour of the ground has been changing from grey to rusty red. And the buildings are this colour too with their clay tile roof tops. Gone are the sillar building exteriors and all that white. My Footprint guide says of Cusco “Today, the city’s beauty cannot be overstated. It is a fascinating mix of Inca and colonial Spanish architecture: colonial churches, monasteries and convents and pre-Columbian runis are interspersed with hotels, bars and restaurants that have sprung up to cater for the hundreds of thousands of tourists. Almost every central street has remains of Inca walls, arches and doorways. Many streets are lined with Inca stonework, now serving as the foundations for more modern dwellings.”
I can’t say anything different, just add that it is indeed a great place to explore. We spend a day with our most amazing guide exploring the Sacred Valley, this includes a trip to Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero and back to Cusco.
Another day we spend in Cusco exploring the early 17th century Cathedral, the Qorichancha at Santo Domingo and Museo de Sitio Qoricancha. In the cathedral we are lucky enough to hear a small Quechua gathering singing with two flutes accompanying them. We aren’t sure what they are celebrating but the music is wonderful in a haunting sort of way.
We have now been in Peru for a couple weeks. The total strangeness has worn off and any fear of not being able to cope in a different environment is gone, but there is now an understanding of how much I don’t know and that is huge. I think that is okay but it is certainly humbling too. I now think I will absorb whatever I can, but not expect too much more learning to happen. It is enough to just enjoy what I can see and hear … and taste too (the food is quite enjoyable!)
To see all the Peru pictures click here.