Friday, March 24, 2017

Cusco Scenes

WonderPeru got us to Cusco in the afternoon of the 7th--a great bus ride--and we checked into the Tierra Vita Centro, our home for the next week. Perhaps the best of our hotel stays, only a 3 star, but luxurious enough for us and with a wonderful breakfast and really nice and helpful staff. Our first evening I simply walked to the nearest IncaFarma to buy some more Diamox...of the 250mg variety. Our 125mg dosage seemed insufficient. Happily, such things are OTC in Peru, and the double dosage seemed eventually to work. Next day we were content simply to wander the centro, the cathedral complex, and to connect with Llama Path, our guides for Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, and the Sacred Valley.
Old Inca gateway to Cusco, their capital

Pre-Inca ruins on the outskirts of the city

Another big city, half a million, I'd guess

Rebar in the sky...

Bolivar and San Martin welcome us to Cusco

Actually larger than king-size; five blocks from the Plaza de
Armas; best breakfasts of our trip

Pinata shop

Approaching the Plaza de Armas and the cathedral

Interestingly adorned fire truck; just back from the Parade of
Roses? we wondered

Interestingly, this is the pose most younger tourists seem to
favor for their pix; Crucificado?

On the Plaza, tastefully understated


Conqueror and conquered

Another day, another parade; silly men this time

No fotos in the cathedral, but we had to get this one

And this one, off the web: the muy muy famoso guinea pig
Last Supper at the cathedral in Cusco

The cathedral; actually a three-fer with adjoining churches on
the starboard and port; apart from the Last Supper, we could
have well skipped it

Mostly what there is to look at in Cusco are the architectural
traces of the Incas, marveling at their very fine stone masonry,
grandeur, etc.

The longest of the intact walls

Archaeological sites all around; although the Spanish/Catholics
destroyed pretty much everything they could of Incan

Amuse bouche at Boca, a nice restaurant recommended by one
of Rachel's friends

Actually, a salad and this mixed grill appetizer was all we
could eat (altitude of Cusco is just over 11,000 and we were
feeling it; that and the huge breakfast)

It was International Women's Day and there was a march on the

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Church Of Andahuaylilas

Our last stop en route to Cusco was the parish church of San Pedro, known as Peru's Sistine Chapel. There, a strange thing happened. We were warned before we entered the church that there was a strict no fotos policy. Nothing new. Then we were handed a CD, included in the modest admission price, of pix of the church, apparently inside and out. How smart is that? Why don't all museums and churches do that?! Anyhow, we didn't bring a CD player with us on this trip, so I'll post pix in a few days, once we are back in the US.

As I blog, we are awaiting transportation to the airport for a flight from Cusco to Lima and then tomorrow, March 16, from Lima to San Francisco. It will be really good to get back "home." Anyway, in the next week or so I'll do the remaining South American blogposts...Cusco, the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley.
Off the web...stay tuned

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Raqchi And The Temple Of Wiracocha

The Raqchi complex is still some miles from Cusco, on one of the many Inca roads. It had administrative, military, commercial, and religious purposes. Most impressive are its 4 km city wall, its scores of round storehouses, and its Wiracocha Temple, largest of all known Inca roofed structures.
A look at the city walls, here atop a terraced hill

Artificial pond and irrigation channel

First look at the temple--300-some feet long, 82 feet wide

Eleven columns supported the sloping roof

Our guide shows how it was constructed

View from stern

The one remaining intact column

Now looking into a housing/administrative
section; note leaning walls; the trapezoid was
the Inca construction ideal, especially for walls
in earthquake country; the whole wall, you
might say, is integrally-buttressed

Among the scores of round storage buildings, called quilqas;
all 33 feet in diameter; this one has been reconstructed,
most others just the stone foundation; why so  many?
you ask: armies march on their stomachs, as Napoleon
(or Fred the Great) once said; everywhere else in the empire,
the storage buildings were rectangular; no one knows why
the round construction here

Full view of central structure of Temple; the little roofs are
modern, to prevent further degradation by rain

In the municipal area

Spare parts

Our first large Inca ruins...impressive; and not even on a


Our first stop on the Puno to Cusco trip was the town of Pukara with its archaeological site and museum. The site dates from 1800 BC with a zenith around 200 BC. It was an administrative and religious center for the Pukara culture, north of Lake Titicaca.
The Santa Isabel parish church across from the museum; also

Items in the museum found at the Pukara site;
yes, this is about decapitation, human sacrifice,

Pukara and Pukara-style ceramics have been
found all over Peru

Among the stelae found at the site
Guarding the church yard

Approaching the Pukara site; I am hanging back in order to
take pix and also to breathe; "keep breathing; that's the key;
breathe"--Gimli, Son of Gloin

Several stepped pyramids

Our luxury tourist bus; best yet

Sunken courtyard


Nearby school

Modern Pukara, population around 2,000

Still processing this one, although it must have something to
do with insects or birds...