Cusco, day and night

Cusco, situated in the Andes, in south-eastern Perú, was the capital of the Incan Empire. It is surrounded by sites of historical and archaeological interest. The modern day wonder of the world, Machu Picchu being the most notable.

Tourism is big business in Cusco and there are some disreputable companies ready to take advantage of people easily parted from their cash. Happily, there are other companies who, while not being the cheapest, offer a good service. Also you can buy a tourist ticket which lasts up to 10 days and gives you entrance into many of the sites in and around the city. It is a good way of saving money.

Having visited a lot of the sites around the Sacred Valley and my Boleto Turistico  expired, I decided to take the tour bus and have a look at the city from a different perspective. The bus departed from the Plaza de Armas at about 5 pm, which was shortly before dusk.

As we climbed the hill, the sun began to set and the various cloud formations became more noticeable.

As the bus began its descent back toward the city, darkness fell and still marvelling at the light show that nature had provided, I decided to take some photos of the city lights. Not easy when you are on a bus, especially as it goes over speed bumps.

Laqo and ?

After visiting Tambomachay and Puka Pukara, two Inca sites a short distance outside of Cusco, I set off in search of the Temple of the Moon. I had been given directions by Jeremy, of Rumi-Tumi Tours but after a couple of hours of looking over the previous sites, I couldn’t remember them very well.

I had a vague idea of the direction I should be going and I knew my position with regard to the road and the location of the city, so I was not going to get lost. I walked for at least 2 hours during which I discovered…

…but no Temple of the Moon. I carried on walking, intrepid explorer style, passing bemused farmers and their families. I was on the point of giving up, when I spotted a group of young men collecting wood. I asked them if they were aware of Inca ruins close by and received directions to a site which was just a few minutes away.

From the “unknown” site, I started back towards the City. It had started thundering and rainfall was imminent. As luck would have it, before long, I stumbled on another site. This one was clearly signposted as Laqo, which as it happens, is the Temple of the Moon. However, by this time, with a 5km walk ahead of me, at least, I decided to take just a few photos and try and get home before the downpour began. I can go back again later for more if I have time.

Tambomachay and Puka Pukara

Tambomachay and Puka Pukara are two Inca sites quite close together, about 8kms out of Cusco,Perú. They are easily reached by bus or as part of a tour.

Tambomachay was a resting place for the Incas, apparently, and has a series of aqueducts to maintain a constant supply of water.

A short walk from Tambomachay, is Puka Pukara, a fortress and/or control post. It´s dual purpose being to defend Cusco and act as an administrative centre.

 

Sacsayhuaman

Sacsayhuaman in Cusco, Perú, was a fortress built high on a hill overlooking the city. It was built using blocks weighing up to 200 tons, apparently. The construction was so precise that even without mortar, it was earthquake proof. The reason there is not more of it still standing today is that the Spanish Conquistadors used it as a quarry to source materials for their building projects.

As my accommodation is not far from the site, I decided to take a short cut, climbing to the top of the hill. It was a bit strenuous for an old bloke but worth the effort. There were spectacular views on the way up.

There are various theories about how the Incas were able to construct Sacsayhuaman using such large stones. Also there is the question of where did they get the tools to work with such precision. Some theories even suggest extraterrestrial involvement.

However they managed to get the stones there, it is a testament to the builders, that their handiwork can still be seen today.

When I started my ascent earlier, I was unaware that there was a parade taking place at the Plaza de Armas. The music of the marching bands carried up to the top of the hill and seem to add something to the atmosphere. Maybe, resembling the bringing down of the walls of Jericho.

Cerro Santa Apolonia

As it was my last full day in Cajamarca, I wanted to make the most of it. It was a nice day with lots of sunshine so I decided to go up to the top of Cerro Santa Aplonia. I had previously gone about half way and taken a few photos but as it was crowded, decided to abandon the trip. As luck would have it, yesterday it was almost deserted.

Cerro Santa Apolonia, was where the Inca emperor Atahualpa had a “throne” and from where he surveyed his army and people.

??????????????Very quiet.

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DSCN1820With amazing views.

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????????????????????I had thought that this was the top but there is a small plateau further up which has a pleasant garden area. Entry about 25p.

????????????Was this some sort of sentry box? It is very small.

????????????The emperor´s throne, allegedly.

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This cactus looks older and more weary than me.

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Los Baños del Inca

Yesterday I went to the thermal springs known as Los Baños del Inca, Cajamarca. They were famously used by the Inca emperor Atahualpa just before he was captured by the Spanish.

If it was good enough for him, it is good enough for me. It is only a few kilometeres outside of the city of Cajamarca and the taxi fare from the city centre was acceptable, about £2.50 each way.

DSCN1786Where is the water? This can’t be right.

DSCN1775Aah. A modern version. The water looks a bit murky though…

DSCN1779…and a bit hot. Unless that’s piranhas bubbling under the surface.

DSCN1776I am definitely not getting in there.

IMG_0269My private thermal bath. It was luxurious. The water from the thermal spring is at 71°C so needed some cold water added for personal comfort.

DSCN1782There is also an information centre, which has a few artifacts and a photographic exhibition of almost everything of interest in the Cajamarca area. I was shown around by José who patiently explained things to me. Fortunately for me, he did not speak as rapidly as most of the local people.

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