Yesterday we woke up very early and Charlie and Hen were super jet lagged after 24 hours travelling and then the 6 hour time difference. Juliet came and met us at the hotel for breakfast, which was amazing – so different to our 1sole croissant or quinoa cereal we’ve been having. There was scrambled eggs, sausages, pancakes, fruit, cereal, juice, yoghurt, croissants, cake, everything you can imagine and we were in heaven. We then set out into the town to explore. Juliet and I thought that there would be a big parade in the plaza like every Sunday but this week because of the independence parades all through the week, there wasn’t one – so annoying because I wanted to show my family the hilarious marching. Instead we walked up to San Blas, which Juliet and I have only seen in the miserable weather, and it was clear blue sky so we had a wonder around the markets, art galleries, water features and took in the beautiful view before having a wonder down alpaca poo alley, then swiftly turning back around.
We then took the family down to Avenida del Sol so that they could see the sun temple that later we would explore and just generally see a little bit more of Cusco, a sunnier side. We went to the cute cafe that Juliet and I love and the family tried empañadas, fresh Peruvian juice, and Hen spoke a teeny bit of Spanish at everyone’s pushing (I’ll definitely be making him speak more!). Then we headed back to the hotel to get our things together for our afternoon tour.
At 1.15pm we were met by our tour guide Alcinda who was taking us on a private tour of all the amazing ruins, artefacts and architecture of Cusco. At first we drove up the windy mountains (I route I know very well) to Saqsaywoman but instead of visiting the big white statue of Jesus, we went to a huge fort with two sides and a huge landing strip of green land. It was a fort built by the incas and although the incas used it for worshipping – it was the place where the Spanish and the Incas fought.
We then visited ruins of the puma temple, a place of worship for the incas, then the snake temple. This just looked like a huge rock but there was an opening inside it leading to a cave with a huge worshipping table inside. Next was the water temple, with huge terraces and the incas had redirected the river flow through it, so there was a natural waterfall all the way down. There were two men practically standing inside the last fountain with scrubbing brushes, cleaning the fountain. We then climbed up the the highest point which we discovered was the same height as my sky dive! It’s crazy to think that when I jumped out of that plane at 1400ft I felt so high and Australia was so far below me, and here I was at the same height standing on a hill!
On our way back down the mountain to Cusco, we stopped off at the huge white Jesus statue for a quick selfie before jumping back in the bus. Our next stop was the temple of the sun, the huge temple that we’d eaten lunch infront of. Our tour guide told us all about it and it’s importance to the incas, we climbed the steep inca built stairs and saw how the incas pieced together the huge blocks to form a wall. Once she pointed it out, it was also clear to see where the Inca building stopped and the Spanish built on top. We saw inca communication channels dug on the floor of the rooms and also windows to place statues and mummy’s. It was also incredible to see how every window is built to exactly the same size, even though they are just holes within rocks, and some of the rocks have over 14 corner, the incas really did piece their walls together like a puzzle.
Our next stop was the huge cathedral in the plaza de armas. It is Spanish built and is a huge Catholic cathedral with two churches within. I’m not sure what I thought about the catholic touch on the church, with every item filled with gold and huge statues of Jesus covered in blood. What was interesting was that the cathedral in cusco is the only Catholic Church or building to have mirrors everywhere, which is normally something forbidden in the catholic culture. We also saw a huge painting of the last supper, but Peruvian style with guinea pig on a plate in the middle and Chica as their drink instead of wine! We also saw a huge display of gold and silver with a huge Jesus figure on top that on the Incan new year on the 21st of June is normally carried around the plaza. However, the clever Peruvians have glued the whole display to a car, covering the car, and placed the huge Jesus and the vase for the wine on top, meaning that someone can just drive the car out of the cathedral and around the plaza – hilarious. After the cathedral we went back to the hotel to have a relax before our evenings activities. We planned to meet Juliet and the Museo del Pisco for drinks before dinner. When we arrived we were greeted by the same hilarious man from last time who kissed each of us on the hand (obviously not the boys) and told us he would make the evening special. We ordered our cocktails and a few nibbles and then one of the pisco connoisseurs came over and told us that as it was pisco day, they were going to give us a pisco tasting and tell us a bit about pisco. The cocktails were already very strong and after trying four different straight piscos, everyone was feeling the alcohol! We then went to our restaurant for the evening for a meal of Peruvian food, nearly everyone had alpaca, before collapsing into bed back at the hotel.