Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Travel Log, Wednesday, June 9, Cuzco

The day awoke sunny but cold, with frost on the roof tiles. The sun seems to rise a bit sooner here than in Cuenca, (probably because Cuzco is further east in the time zone.) and although I could pull the curtain back and see the blue sky, I couldn't pull myself from under the four wool blankets to step out into our cold room.

We all did finally get up, and after a breakfast of bread, jam and tea, we moved to a slightly more down-scale (but warmer) hostel for less than half the price (50 soles, or about $18.00 compared to 130 soles, about $46). After we cooked up a second breakfast in the hostal kitchen, we walked down to the bus station to catch a bus to Tombomachay, the first of four Inca ruins we'd visit today. Tombomachay is about five miles from Cusco, and a small site, with typical tight fitting stonework. Nikki bought a beautiful aplaca wool hat from some vendors at the site, against our wishes, but it 's a beautiful hat.

After Tombomachay, we basically walked across the highway to Puku Pukara, and afterwards, flagged a bus which took us to Q'enqo, where Debby and I had a guide (the girls preferred to explore on their own) and learned a bit about the site. By far the most impressive site of the day however, was Saqsaywaman, only about one mile from Cuzco. It is an enormous site , which includes a huge field with three tiers of large stone walls. At the base is a huge parade field, maybe the size of 8 to 10 soccer fields laid side by side. On the other side of the field is a large rock hill, with terraced flanks and stairs through the middle of it. On the other side of this is a quite large filed, surrounded by a low stone wall. We walked back to Cusco from Saqasywaman, and after dinner, came down to the Plaza de Armas to witness a folklore dance competition. Lots of beautifully dressed kids performing traditional dances in the street in front of the Cathedral.

As I write this at night in the hostal, I can still hear the music from the festival wafting up from below.

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