Day 29 - Cusco Inca Ruins

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South America » Peru » Cusco
November 2nd 2018
Published: November 3rd 2018
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Plan today was to stay in town and check out museums and monuments but it didn’t turn out that way. We had a relaxed start and left the hotel at 09:15 to visit the Museo de Historia Regional which was very informative. It starts from pre-historic times and progresses through the years with the most interesting rooms being about the Spanish conquest and subsequent failed revolts by the Inca people. There are quite a few parallels between what happened here and what happened with the Australian Aboriginal people.

After that we decided to walk to the San Pedro Church but along the way we noticed the street was full of tourist agencies and a girl approached Daisy but I decided to ask them about tours to the four Inca archaeological sites that are just out town. It was suggested to us by Julio that we could hire a taxi but I thought there was no harm in enquiring. The company is called Chocco Tours because they actually have tours of their chocolate factory, but they did have what they called a “city tour” that went to the Santa Domingo Church which was one suggested to us, but then went to the four archaeological sites that were already covered on our tourist ticket. The cost was only 20 sole each ($AUS8.25) and I thought I mis-heard her. So we just said yes , let’s do that. The girl suggested two other sites also covered by our ticket which are further out and that was just 30 soles, so we decided to do that as well. Tour started at 14:00 but she said if we come to the office she’ll take us to the meeting spot which was in Place de Armas

After that we passed a hiking shop and Daisy bought a North Face jacket at a very good price, well we hope it’s a North Face, but it was in a proper shop. We then saw the church as planned but it wasn’t open , but opposite it are the Central Markets, so we went in and it was a real locals market. People we lunching and there were a whole of stalls selling chicken noodle soup for 6 soles and they were all doing great business. Each little stall had three rows of seats for customers to consume their soup. Daisy was tempted as she loves soup but decided to pass on it. We ended up having trout for Daisy and rack of lamb for me at another little stall and it cost 30 soles, so food can be cheap here if you eat with the locals.

We then went back to the hotel to better prepare for our tour and walked over to the agency as arranged. The girl Karen was very helpful and even took us to an ATM as we needed more cash. We ended up on a tour of about 30 people which explained the cheap cost but that didn’t worry us. The other thing was that we were the only English speaking people and the guide had to explain everything twice, but he did it really well, often explaining things just to us as we walked between the stops.

First stop was Santa Domingo Church which wasn’t on our ticket so we had to pay 15 soles each. The interesting thing about this church is that it was built on the foundations of the Incan Temple of the Sun known as Korikancha which was mainly destroyed by the Spaniards although some the original walls were incorporated into the church and plastered over but this was forgotten until an earthquake shook the plaster off and revealed the obviously Incan walls.

We then had to walk a few blocks to catch the bus as large buses are not allowed to enter the old part of the city and we were driven to the first site, Tambomachay which consists of fountains, aquaducts and baths. Then driven a very short distance to the second site, Puka Pukara which was a military fort.

The third site was Qenqo which was nothing like any other Incan building we’ve seen. No-one knows for sure what it was used for, but it is assumed to be a temple that could have been used for rituals. It is carved out of a single monolith and uses natural chambers as well as man made ones.

The final site was Saqsaywaman which sounds like “sexy woman” as our guide alluded to as he explained that the name could actually be incorrect because of mis-pronunciation. The original meaning probably referred to the zig-zag shapes of the walls. There is a large flat area in front to the current building but it was explained that this massive building that we can see now was only a fraction of the original structure as the Spaniards had used the stones from the site to build Spanish Cuzco.

It was now dark but before heading back we did the tourist shop stop at another alpaca wool place and even though we didn’t buy anything this time, the initial prices quoted were considerably cheaper than the shop in Pisac and even the Pisac markets.

Once again the bus had to stop on the perimeter of the old town and we had a 15 minute walk back to the hotel and again we decided to pass on dinner for an early night.

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