Monday, September 14, 2009

Peru: Cuzco

This is my eighth Peru blog post.

After we settled into our hotel in Cuzco, we ventured out to have a look around after dark. It was truly spectacular as all the churches were lit up around the city center. Unfortunately, Dan left the good camera in the room so we didn't get any photos of Cuzco after dark. We would continue to forget to take the good camera out with us at night.

We had a lovely room that night and all of us slept soundly until 4 AM when Dan got up to discover our room had flooded! Apparently there was a fresh water cistern under the floor in our room which had a valve failure. The night staff at the Casa Andina Koricancha hotel moved us immediately to anther room. The next morning they sent our wet laundry out to the cleaners and gave us a big fruit basket, chocolates and other goodies as well as apologized profusely. They were really wonderful.

All the photos in this post are from our first morning in Cuzco. Except for the last few, they were taken in the main square.

Being an Inca city turned Spanish colonial city, Cuzco's streets are mostly very narrow and one-way and often steep. Some of the sidewalks are literally only 6-12 inches wide if they exist at all. Many of the foundations of the buildings are original Inca foundations. It is fascinating to walk around and try to discern which stonework is original Inca, which is Spanish colonial using Inca stones and which is modern fake.

Cuzco is also where the hopeful artists congregate with their portfolios in the streets and beg you to look a their paintings. In the city center you will run into someone wanting to show you their paintings about every 3 minutes. It's maddening.

Cathedral doors and Caleb

Side chapel of the Cathedral

View over the city. The rainbow flag is the city flag of Cuzco

Main Street Cuzco--right in the main plaza

Caleb and me in the main plaza being approached by a lady selling birdseed for the pigeons

Caleb at the fountain

at Santo Domingo/Qorikancha (more about that in another post)

The lady in the above photo thrust the poor lamb into Caleb's hands so he had to hold it whether he wanted to or not. In Peru you generally offer 1 sol (approximately $.33) to someone if you want to take their photo. This lady was making sure she'd get her sol!

Cuzco is an amazing city with much for the tourist to do and see. Unfortunately, it's also quite expensive. Every tourist that comes to Peru comes to Cuzco and the prices reflect that. You can keep expenses lower by being a smart traveler--choosing restaurants and money exchanges farther from the main square will save you money.

a view off the street into a typical courtyard in Cuzco

This was just our first morning in Cuzco. In the afternoon we had a Cuzco city tour which included stunning Incan ruins. Check back soon for that post.


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