Inca trails and Spanish tales (part 1)
Trip Start Jun 08, 2012
41Trip End Aug 16, 2013
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During the week I have just being doing my Spanish classes Monday to Friday in the mornings and have spent most afternoons in the centre watching the festivities and exploring the town. We normally go out for dinner in the evenings and then a few(!) beers in the highest Irish pub in the world, although 2 of us did brave buying fresh food at the market one night and cooking it in the schools kitchen
I had a very cultured and tiring weekend exploring Incan ruins with a fellow traveller, Suzan. On Saturday we took a taxi to a site 11km away called Tambomachay and from there walked back to Cusco which passes 3 other Incan sites - Pukapukara, Q'enqo and Saqsaywaman, which took the whole day. I was too tired to even drink that night, but we did get serenaded in a restaurant by a local mariachi band! (For anyone interested in the history or meaning of these sites I've added a very brief description at the end of this post).
Sunday we decided to take it a bit easier and took a taxi to a small town called Pisac which is 33km north of Cusco and in the Sacred Valley. The plan was to take the bus to Pisac but after spending an hour being sent in 4 different directions by 4 different locals to find the bus stop (nothing as simple here as a pole in the ground saying "bus stop"!) and asking every bus we saw if they were going to Pisac as none of them displays the route or destination in the window, we gave in and took a comfortable taxi instead! Pisac is famous for 2 things - a massive daily market (Sunday is the biggest) and more Incan ruins. We did the market first which sells everything from clothes to dolls to art to jewellery to fresh fruit and veg, then headed up to the ruins which sit 4km high above the town. At the courtyard we stopped at for lunch they were cooking the local delicacy, Cuy (stuffed and roasted guinea pig), and they grow there own so there was a big guinea pig house in the middle of the courtyard which was really odd! The Pisac ruins are definitely my favourite ruins from the weekend. The views from the top are amazing and the site is really big and still complete unlike Saqsaywaman which was destroyed by the spanish conquerors so only the foundations remain. To get to the ruins (we took a taxi there but decided to walk down), my trusty(?!) Lonely Planet says, and I quote, "take the steep 4km footpath starting along the left side of the church
So that's it for the weekend, back to class this week and deciding what to get up to next weekend.
PS, having some issues loading photos but will try adding them again later so check back for updates
Tambomachay - small ceremonial bath site - named El Bano del Inca.
Pukapukara - meaing 'red fort' thought to be used as a hunting lodge or guard post with panoraic views looking down into Cusco
Q'enqo - small ruin meaning zigzag. It's a large limsetone rock riddled with niches, steps and symbolic carvings, thought to be a place for cerimonial sacrifices.
Saqsaywaman (pronoucned sexy woman) - meaning satisfied falcon and the largest of the 4 sites. It was torn down by the Spaniards after the conquest and the blocks used to build houses in Cusco. The shape represents the teeth of a puma with 22 zigzagging walls and the site is used for the annual Inti Raymi celebrations. (Cusco was originally designed in the shape of a puma with Saqsaywaman forming the puma's head).