That’s right, my friend Ankur from San Diego has joined me in Cuzco, Peru and is sticking around for two weeks. We’ve been having a whirlwind of a trip visiting the enchanting Machu Picchu, hiking around Lago de Titicaca, and entering the wild Bolivia. I’ll be updating on all of that very soon.
Just before looking around the market a few blocks from our hostel, we found some amazing architecture all surrounded by emerald green mountains. The city of Cuzco itself is at around 3,400 m (11,200 ft), so it took us a day of rest to acclimatize.
Walking up the hills and steps of the Lombard-like streets above was an enduring task at that altitude.
As we were making our way up higher in the city, we would get amazing glimpses through the lower streets and the mountains above.
Before entering the park on the outskirts of town, we reached a vantage point which allowed me take to take the above panorama of the city. What keeps puzzling me is how a city as beautiful as this can exist at such a high altitude. Cuzco was founded around 1100 A.D. and was the capital of the Inca Empire. What’s also interesting is that a few years ago, Cuzco was founded to have the highest ultraviolet light level in the world. And this is the same city which was the capital of a culture which worshipped Inti – the Sun god. Coincidence?
We walked up through the park and reached the top. We were acquainted with the above musician who I forgot the name of since it was in Quechua and potentially more difficult than my own name. He played music for all that were at the top and made the view even more enjoyable.
The day after Aguas Calientes, we had some more time to walk around the city and enjoy the architecture. It’s an amazing clash of Incan and Spanish influences.
The city at night is beautiful in its own right as the area in and around Plaza de Armas lights up and the green hills suddenly illuminate like Christmas trees.
One interesting technology is how the city has waterways in the center of the road as opposed to the sides as seen in the Appian way and modern day roads in the states.
At one point a young enterpreneur probably in his teens who was trying to sell us art and postcards told us that one of the stones had 11 sides, was holding up all the other stones, and that we were not allowed to touch it. I give him an A+ for good deadpan.
Eventually, we decided to check out the highest Irish pub in the world before departing for Puno later that night. Looking back, I would’ve liked to have stayed in Cuzco for a longer time. The city is a great place to learn and meet people from all over the world. There’s even places to go on Yoga retreats, which to me is an opportunity to return some day to Cuzco with my family, hopefully.