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Cusco and the Valley of the Inca

December 14, 2011

Up again before dawn for transfer to the airport, driving the streets of Lima early was a treat but I am always struck by the walls, gates and, iron bars covering everything. Seeing the city briefly on the way to the way to the airport was not enough but this trip does not include time for Lima, unless I squeeze it in Jon Sunday between flights and based on my cuisine so far it may be worth the 45 min cab ride to Mira Flores for dinner before my red eye. This is likely the last post until Saturday night when I am back in a hotel since the Inca trail hike begins tomorrow.

Today was full as always small flight delay but allowed me to have some coffee in the airport since I rushed breakfast before leaving the hotel. Seems that everywhere but the states knows how to serve a decent cup of coffee in ceramic even with only a few minutes. The felt was on LAN airlines which I think will be my carrier of choice for future South America trips and since it is a One World airline may even squeeze some miles out of my bankrupt airline of choice.

Upon arrival in Cusco we visited the Cusco Cathedral where the first chapel was constructed in 1450. The Cathedral was more ornamental than many I have seen in Europe and the UK. The alter was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen so it is a shame I could not photograph it, but imagine a 40 foot tall ornate golden shrine with a magnificent Christ. This Christ was one raised and exalted for halting the earth quakes common to the region.

The next visit was to the santa dominigo museum build over the foundation of a Inca sun temple. Seeing the Inca foundations as sound as if they were constructed yesterday with the finest masonry ever was impressive. No mortar is used for Inca temple walls yet the huge stones fit together so well they have lasted for hundreds of years and a violent Spanish conquest and still I could not have slid a razor blade between the stones. In addition to the Inca architecture there was a number of catholic paintings from the Cusco school all of which were completed anonymously.

Next off to the Pisac market to get my tourist on, it is too bad I do not like to shop or this would have been great fun with the colorful textiles everywhere and many silver pieces all produced by local artists. Could not bring myself to shop for things I would have to carry on the hike so any gifts will have to be at the end.

Next stop was lunch at the ranch attached to the hotel, lunch was awesome and included a wonderful display of horsemanship including a young woman dancing in Spanish style with the lead horseman. We had to head out right after lunch for the first of the large Inca temples.

Walking up the steps of the temple made me realize what I may be in for on the trail with steep steps and wonderful views. I come to find later that I am hiking with two other couples which may be a bit slower than I am on the hike so perhaps this is not such a bad thing.

Post needs edits but no time off to the Inca trail. Best to all. Check out the Sol Y Luna awesome hotel. Note to self make sure you pack the socks you just bought, travel fail…

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