Cruisin’ In Cusco…

Birthday at Lake Titicaca
Birthday at Lake Titicaca

Finally have an internet connection on my birthday in Lake Titicaca…no puerile tittering.

I shall pick up where I left off last Wednesday. One more day in Peru and then on Thursday I shall resume normal programming…thanks for hangin’ in.

Cusco, Peru
Cusco, Peru

Where to begin…Wednesday was such an amazing day in Cusco.

We finally met up with our private tour guide, Juan Trujillo Rodriguez, who owns FacePeru. If you ever plan a trip to Peru, Juan is your man.

We set off at 9 am and Juan had the day mapped out and struck just the right balance between the past and the present and the thread of paganism which permeates the culture even today.

Sacsayhuaman
Sacsayhuaman

We spent the morning with a sexy woman, the slang term for Sacsayhuaman, the Inca ceremonial center in the hills surrounding the city. Huge stone blocks beg the question of how they were carved, transported and manuevered into position. The masonry is awe-inspiring and leads one to believe that the Incans were master architects. Construction began in the 1440’s and it is believed that 20,000 workers were needed.

llama

We also saw alpaca grazing and started me jonesing for a baby alpaca sweater, which now cost over $200…welcome to American pricing.

Next stop, Qengo which is a great stone carved with steps, pictures and a sacrificial table. The Incans were always sacrificing to the Gods in hopes of rain and fertile crops. We learned that in extreme cases, 12 year-old girls were the sacrificial lambs. It doesn’t matter the century, females always take the fall.

Hairless Peruvian Dog
Hairless Peruvian Dog

We did a drive by at a baby alpaca sweater factory….so soft. Not my style, but tried to find a treat for my mom. The sizing was un-American, but ran into the cutest, butt ugly dog, a Peruvian hairless dog…made me miss Berkeley and Madison desperately.

Temple of the Sun
Temple of the Sun

Qoricancha, which was the Inca’s sumptuous Temple of the Sun before becoming the Spaniard’s Santo Domingo Church was up next. It was a split personality….half Incan, perfect lines, well thought out and the half, baroque, fancy, religious paintings…very Spanish.

La Cathedral
La Cathedral

The cavernous Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas which was built between 1560 and 1664 out of slabs of red granite engulfs the majestic square. It consists of 3 temples…bright, shining and fancy. The choir room, which is filled with carved wooden seats and decorations is an unbelievable sight.

Rocio's Juice Bar
Rocio’s Juice Bar

The local market was a trip, displaying animal organs, medicinal herbs, juice presses (NYC and LA did not invent this), seamstresses, Peruvian Viagra called Maca…you name it it was for sale.

Maca
Maca

We had a delightful juice with Rocio, a friend of Juan’s. When in Peru and ordering a non-alcoholic beverage, down it and utter, “Yapa.” It is considered your right to ask for refills. I am going to yapa it up once in the good old USA…we need to institute this custom.

quinoa
Quinoa Crusted Shrimp Salad

We ended in San Blas, the artist colony and had a lovely lunch at the trendy la Cicciolina’s ¬†and sat outside, devouring a local cheese plate and a delicious green salad with beets, asparagus and quinoa shrimp. We headed home to gear up for yet another dining experience.

Onward…tomorrow we journey to the Sacred Valley…stay tuned.

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