A week in historic Cusco

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Everytime I think of Cusco I think of belly buttons. This is because people kept telling me that Cusco is the belly button of the world. (At least for the ancient Incas it was – the name ‘Cusco’ means navel/bellybutton in Quechua.)

Cusco is a beautiful old city (at least 3000 years old) filled with cobbled streets, Inca ruins, cathedrals and plenty of ladies yelling “massages” to you as you try to walk through the Plaza del Arms. As the starting point for the scred valley (and it’s most famous attraction – Machu Picchu) it’s pretty much a ‘must-see’ in Peru.

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View of the Plaza del Arms

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Beautiful church in the Plaza del Arms - the center of Cusco

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Fountain in the Plaza del Arms

We lived in Cusco for 1 week. I say ‘lived’ because we enrolled in a Spanish school (the same school we went to in Sucre) and moved in with a local family in a non-touristy part of town. It was good to feel settled for a bit. We ate at home instead of restaurants and had some friends to meet up with for drinks or to try local delicacies (this will obviously be described in a different post – there is so much about food in Peru that we need to share!). Because all of our mornings were taken up with Spanish lessons and in the afternoon we went back home for lunch and to chat to our Spanish family we had little time for the endless number of tourist activities that are available for you in this historically packed city. However, we did manage to fit in two really informative museums (Inca Museum and Coricancha) and a visit to another South American rock – this time within a wall…

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With our lovely teacher Paul - note how proudly we are displaying our intermediate alto certificates

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With some of our host family - mama, Gloria and Manuel

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Coricancha (the temple of the sun). This was the most important temple in the Inca empire - today you can visit it and see their original perfectly crafted walls. No cement needed!

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Chris admiring those skillfully crafted bricks

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I can't help but photograph beautiful ceilings

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Manuel insisted we visit the 'piedre de 12 angulos' so here we are at the rock with 12 angles. This is another amazing inca wall - no cement or binding material and has withstood earthquakes and centuries. They think that this particular stone is key to this wall and if it were removed, the entire wall would collapse. Perhaps more amazing is how small I look in this photo.

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7 responses »

    • There were only 2 restaurants we visited twice so those would have to be our favourite. 1. Ruins – because I absolutely love Picarones and 2. A Chichoneria near Coricancha where Chris could buy his favourite Cuscan food – Adobo. Did you have any favourites?

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