Cusco Exploration

Inca Mural
Andes Women Cutting Potatoes
Walking along old cobble stone streets, they are tiny for sure. Reminds me of something you would see in Europe or walking along the Gion section of Kyoto.  Definitely an old city fell here & you never know what is waiting for you around the corner.  This is definitely an old colonial city with heaps of charm. I think I can see about six churches all in one area & beautiful cliffs with houses lined up. At night you can see a cross lit up on a mountain top, I’m in Latin America & the church is a big part of the culture.  Fountains grace the park, Andes woman are everywhere.  Note to the traveler that they will charge you like two soles for a photo.  Yes, they are in the moneymaking business too. People line the street trying to sell you a tour or something. I’ve eaten some yummy vegetarian food.  I have ended up eating in the charming Granja Heidi where I didn’t pay more than twenty soles for a setto that included a starter, main, desert & beverage.  However, I heard a conversation in Japanese from a guide & her clients that I could pick up immediately.  Peru is home to the biggest Japanese population in South America & China is right behind, there’s a China Town in Lima & Chinese restaurants are called Chifa here.  Asian flavors meet South American cuisine.  Oh, I’m in heaven. I also ended up eating brilliant Indian food at Maikhana, which has a buffet for like fifteen soles. Numerous curries, spicy potatoes, lentils, rice & noodles, which are heaven, can be found here on that “backpacker budget” both meat & vegetarian options are available. Oh, don’t I love Indian food.  I found out at the restaurant that they give back to the community too with a few grass roots programs to give food to children in poverty.  Definitely check out Om Project Cusco on Facebook or Google it Om Cusco. Also, I found out that there’s a Free Vegetarian & Vegan Food located at Calle Saphi 661 and it’s open Monday-Friday 12:00-3:00 PM & all donations go to the Om Ninos Charity, apparently it has caught interest with the locals as well.  Must check it out when I get a moment.  It’s nice to give back & I like seeing restaurant that is into giving back to charity. I like to see chef’s doing that, particularly Jamie Oliver comes to mind as a “Celebrity Chef” that has made an imprint with it. Sad to say that food can be scares in villages in many part of the world that the first world takes for granted. Any little help can go a long way to improve the lives of the less fortunate.
Cusco is a cultural heritage of the world. It’s up there with the UNESCO World Heritage site if you check the list. I’ve been to quite a few on the list. The city is located in the valley of the Watanay River; the Inca Manqo Qhapaq between the XI & XII centuries A.D. as the capital city of the Tawantinsuyo founded it.  Later on the 23 March 1534, the Conqueror Francisco Pizarro founded the Spanish city over the Inca Capital. He did leave the same Incaic setup-temples, places & different residences from different times as an architectonic example of an important cultural fusion.  Cusco name originates from the Quechua world “Qosqo”, which means “navel” or center of the Tawantinsuyo.  Definitely a fusion is the first impression of setting foot here with that old-world feel.  Massive Spanish style architecture structures line the line street.  Gateway to the Inca world is found here.  Must think about my “layers” to tell a story threw the lens.  I don’t think that I’m not going to find a subject to work, work it baby work it.
Looking Threw the Temples inside of the Qorikancha
Well, I must admit that I went to almost a dozen archeology sites today.  Very busy exploring the numerous museums, wondering along the streets.  The afternoon was spent visiting Basilica Cathedral a massive structure where I was not allowed to take any photos in.  The artwork in it was very impressive.  It’s famous for the art work being done by the natives of the area which have included some of their beliefs into the pieces.  Funny, to see paintings of Jesus that represent a feminine side cos the models were probably the Inca woman back in the 1600s. It was very nice to explore the cathedral which a rich history that blended the Spanish Catholicism with the Inca tradition quite nicely. Also, I made a stop at the Qorikancha, which is “Temple of the Sun” & most important Inca temples. It was built to worship Inti, the Sun God. The walls & floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold, & its adjacent courtyard was filled with gold statues that made its way back to Spain.  The Spanish built the Church of Santo Domingo on the site where they destroyed the temple & used the foundation for the cathedral.  It’s a prime example of the harmony of both Spanish & Inca stonework into a colonial structure.  Major earthquakes have destroyed he church but the Inca stonewalls were still intact due to the tightly interlocking blocks. My afternoon was spent wondering around the many famous Inca archeology sites in Cusco. I found out that the Incas used limestone & that there are many symbolic elements that go into their work which represents the sun, the moon, the starts, rainbows, snakes & other which make up the rich history of the Incas.  A lovely afternoon.

Overlooking Cusco

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