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Published: June 13th 2014
These Incan walls were once covered in gold, before the Spanish stole it all, and built a church on top of it. Can see the white church in the distance.
A nice easy day today, meaning that I didn't have to rely on any form of transportation except for my own two feet. Just walked all day between most of the main sights in Cusco. I started at Cusco's version of an Incan Sun Temple, the Coricancha. This place was honestly just a sad sight. It was a great Incan Sun Temple, but because it was covered in gold, the whole place was stripped by the Spanish. As if to make their dominance obvious, they then literally built a church right on top of the ruins. So it's the shell of a once remarkable Incan temple covered by a pretty mediocre Spanish church. This actually reminded me a lot of the Mezquita I saw last summer in Cordoba... where a mosque is merged with a church. There were also some great Incan mummies in the museum at Coricancha. They sit in the fetal position, since they were shoved into really large jars. Interesting.
Also spent the day wandering through Cusco's most famous churches, which mainly sit right off the main Plaza des Armas. These churches are honestly just okay, definitely more like the ugly cousins of European churches. Or knock-offs
really. I did find them interesting though because of their use of local materials. In the big Cathedral for instance, the choir is sculpted out of cedar, so the whole place smells like a forest. The stones inside also had a greenish color to them. Some of the paintings were also interesting. In a Last Supper scene Christ is eating a guinea pig! Painters did this to help convert the Indians. But really Cusco is less about its sights, and more about just being here. It's the type of place you just kind of linger in and then move on. Or you could just spend your time at cafes and bars (which I did tend to do today) and watch what goes on outside.
One thing I also noticed today is that Starbucks is the definite sanctuary for weary Americans. It really is a nice Starbucks, and the whole place is filled with Americans that all looked disturbed and overwhelmed and really just needed a familiar place to go to. Hey that's why I was there - a little escape where you can actually just relax. Ended the day with a nice beer overlooking the Plaza and bought a
Garden at Coricancha
Can really see the Incan foundations and the Spanish buildings on top.
little trinket from a Peruvian woman on the street. I bought this mainly because I was so impressed by this woman. I noticed yesterday that she always sits in the corner of a building on the street my hotel is on. And she just sews all day, making the dolls and scarves that sit next to her. Very impressive, because it's obvious she actually does the work... not like she just sells cheap goods made by other people. Her creations have a true human touch.
Anyway, tomorrow is my last full day in Peru. I stay in Cusco, although in the morning I hike a ways out of town to see an Incan fortress.
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