In and around Cuzco

More photos from the archaeological site Saqsaywayan, overlooking the colonial city of Cuzco.

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Did I mention that we made a new friend named Pitingo? She is a vicuña, or vicuna, a word derived from Quechua.

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Those homes in the background are in a “suburb” of Cuzco.

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Marcela marveling at Saqsaywayan and the city of Cuzco in the valley below…

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These elementary school kids were on a school field trip. After their official visit of the ruins, they made the most of using the rocks as slides.

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Marcela and I just couldn’t resist joining them. My Peruvian host parents said that they have also slid down these same rocks, as have their children! Apparently we weren’t the only ones who couldn’t resist…

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Next, Marcela and I visited the archaeological site of Q’enquo. This is what we found after our visit…

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We almost considered walking to another archaeological site 8km away, but decided that might not be our best option. We were lucky to find a taxi to take us back down to Cuzco, despite the protesting/strike happening in la Plaza de Armas. This was the view that we saw when we got out of the taxi…

???????????????????????????????And this is what we found when we arrived at La Plaza…(no wonder we could hear the protests from Saqsaywayan)

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What were the protests about you ask? About all sorts of issues affecting the locals, mostly concerning Multinational Corporations (MNCs) which are invading the Peruvian market with food products which have little nutritional value and selling products which use Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). This young man did his best to inform the public about the concerns of the protesters despite the high level of noise.

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Police were very much present, but the protests were not at all violent. It was hard to avoid passing by them because we needed to pass through those streets. After passing the famous stone of 12 angles (which has 12 vertices and fits like a glove in between many other carved rocks in a large wall) we ate a menú lunch at the small restaurant we had eaten dinner at the night before: a vegetable soup, and main dish of fish, rice and beans and a healthy drink of herbs boiled in water for five Nuevo Soles (CDN $1.86 or US$1.77).

After a siesta at our hostal, we visited El Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporáneo, my favourite one in the city because of its variety of works in all sorts of mediums.

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In the evening we were lucky to spend time with one of Marcela’s friends and his relatives who were visiting from Chiclayo. We all explored some mercados artesanales and then saw a memorable presentation of traditional Peruvian dances, as included in our touristic tickets, at the Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo. I was happy to see an orchestral play live and of course, the dances were beautiful, especially with their colourful dresses, skirts and ponchos.

Night time in Cusco was nothing like it is in Chiclayo–starting with a much colder temperature. It was also much quieter, even though many people were walking about in the streets and plazas. There was less light than in Chiclayo, allowing us to clearly see the stars, but the well preserved architecture of the city was evident. From start to finish, our first full day in Cusco was unforgettable!

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