Once again I am playing catch up and getting some posts out for previous travels. This starts the set of entries for my adventures in Peru & Ecuador during April & May of 2017.

After a bit more than a full day of travel, including a short night in Lima (complete with my first Pisco Sour) we landed in Cusco and joined our small group for the Peruvian portion of our trip.

We got our first taste of local fare, and given that we ate at a coffee museum had to partake of the coffee offerings at the end of the meal. Given that we were at quite an altitude, this was a much better option than trying to sample more local adult beverages before heading out for a walk around town. 

While getting to Cusco was fraught with a few delays, shortening our time there, our guides did their best to adjust things so that we could still see the highlights of the town.

We started with the in the Plaza de Armas as a jumping off point to see the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption and the Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus. Since photography is not allowed inside either of these buildings I was unable to capture the amazing artwork we viewed.

 

 

 

 

We then proceeded to see the Incan Coricancha (Sun Temple), passing other Inca stone work on our walk there to being to be immersed in the Inca history which we were to get immersed in over the next few days culminating with our planned visit to Machu Picchu.

Both the construction and the evidence of astronomical knowledge were amazing. The alignment from room to room can be seen to be perfect, if course it’s quite hard to get a shot of it without any heads in the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was also hard to capture the evidence of the knowledge of the skies since the photos would need to be taken from a distance. However, the information on display was quite extensive, as was the knowledge of our guide.

 

 

 

 

Towards the end, we got a great view of a lawn sculpture of the condor-puma-snake motif that represents some key concepts of the Incan religious beliefs. The condor represents the heavens, the puma represents the earth, and the snake represents the underworld. These were symbols we would continue to see and seek out during the rest of our days in Peru.

By this time, given our late start, night was falling so we had to say goodbye to our guide and make our way back to our hotel before searching out dinner. For that, we didn’t venture too far a field and went with what was touted as a popular place – and we were not disappointed. While neither of us were gutsy enough to try the cuy (guinea pig), I ordered and enjoyed another local delight, Alpaca, and got gutsy enough to sip a beer at altitude.

After dinner, we made one final stop before getting some much needed sleep. Given that we wouldn’t have much time in town on our return, this was my one chance to buy a sweater made with Baby Alpaca wool. So we set off to one of the reputable markets for me to find my treasure, which now that I have been through a Chicago winter since returning, I have enjoyed.

If I was to do it again, I would plan to spend another full day in Cusco where I could wander around without a guide to enjoy some of the other museums and poke my head into some of the smaller, more local shops. Guess this just means I need to come back some day.

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