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FAREWELL TO THE INCAS, Cusco, Peru

After the 4-day Inca Trail, we had one final full day in Cusco. We started off our day with visiting Qorikancha, the colonial church and convent of Santo Domingo that built upon the stone walls and foundations of the richest temple in the Inca empire, the Inti Wasi, or the Sun Temple.  Qorikancha in Quechua means “Golden Courtyard”.  Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the famous Inca Emperor who expanded the Kingdom of Cusco into the mighty Inca Empire, and was probably the one who ordered the construction of Machu Picchu, transformed much of Cusco into his capital city and erected the Inti Wasi as the most important temple of the empire.   Pachacuti decorated Inti Wasi with gold vases, gold statues, gold ornaments, and walls covered with sheets of solid gold.  Much of the gold was given to the Spanish as ransom money for Atahualpa, the last emperor of the Incas.  Inti Wasi was looted and destroyed by the first Spanish conquistadors.  The Spanish colonists then spent almost a century building the Church of Santo Domingo over the walls and foundations of Inti Wasi.  Much of the church was damaged by earthquakes throughout the centuries, though much of the Inca foundations and walls remained intact because of their magnificent craftsmanship.

After Qorikancha, we strolled along Pampa de Castillo and picked an eatery to try some of the local delicacies. It was lunchtime and the restaurant was quite busy. There were only three things in the menu.  We ordered one of each and a large bottle of Inca Cola.  The dishes included adobo de chancho (Peruvian slow-cook pork in a soup/sauce made with jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, salt and spices), chicharrones (deep-fried chunks of pork served with corn, mint leaves, potato and onion), and the truly awesome caldo de gallina (chicken soup with real taste of chicken).

After lunch, each of us did some shopping at Kuna, a local knitwear fashion brand with a good collection of alpaca garments.  Then we walked over to the Cathedral (Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus). The Cathedral actually consisted of three different churches, Iglesia del Triunfo, Cathedral and Iglesia de Jesus Maria.  We entered the Cathedral through Iglesia de Jesus Maria. The three churches were good examples of colonial architecture, with lots of silver treasures and historical artifacts. Famous paintings include the Quechua’s version of The Last Supper (a small feast with Andean ceremonial food), and the oldest surviving painting in Cusco that depicted an earthquake in 1650.

We couldn’t resist but went for another round of lucuma milkshake at Mercado San Pedro. After the drink, we took a taxi to the district of San Blas one more time to shop for jewellery and souvenirs. We didn’t get any jewellery, but instead, a few souvenirs including t-shirts and two small water-colour drawings.  On our way back down from San Blas, we strolled pass the alleyway of Hatunrumlyoc to admire the Inca stonework one last time.  This was once the palace of Inca Roca, then converted to a grand colonial residence, then a archbishop’s palace, and now, Museo de Arte Religioso.  Each stone of Hatunrumlyoc was smoothed, shaped and fit together by hands, without any use of mortar.  Given the splendid stonework, the Incas and the Quechua people were truly master builders of their time.  It was hard to imagine that their empire lasted for only 100 years. Within a century they built all these palaces and lost cities on the Andes such as Machu Picchu.

Since I needed more rest to deal with my fever, I decided to called it a day and returned to Ninos 2 Hotel, while my friends went out to Plaza de Armas to meet up with our Inca Trail group for a dinner gathering.  They brought back a bowl of delicious chicken soup for me that truly brightened my mood and whetted my appetite.   Since we landed at Arequipa, it had been 13 days traveling in the Peruvian highlands.  In the next morning, we would left the Peruvian Altiplano for Lima.

01Nino’s Hotel 2: across from our room there is the facilities for street children supported by the hotel and other donations.

02Entrance of Nino’s 2 Hotel

03Entrance of the Qurikancha.

04Urban view of Cusco from Qurikancha.

05Reconstructed Inca temple structure with original materials.

06Colonial ceiling panels at Qurikancha.

07Outdoor garden of Qorikancha.

08Outdoor garden of Qorikancha.

09Adobo de chancho, chicharrones, and caldo de gallina

10bAtrium of the eatery.

10aLive music at the eatery.

11  Staff preparing chicharrones near the eatery entrance.

13Plaza de Armas of Cusco.

14The Cathedral of Cusco.

P1030461The Cathedral of Cusco.

15_01  After the two churches, we strolled around the Plaza de Armas area, and found our way through some of the alleyways that are still flanked by Inca stonework. The first alleyway we walked through was Loreto.

P1030469   Walking to Mercado San Pedro again.

16Mercado San Pedro.

17Magnificent Inca stonework at Hatunrumlyoc.

18A courtyard of souvenir shops at Hatunrumlyoc.

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Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010

LIMA
1. Peru Trip 2010
2.  Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3.  Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4.  Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5.  Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6.  Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
INCA TRAIL
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru

 

 

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LUCUMA MILKSHAKE & PLAZA DE ARMAS, Cusco, Peru

Soon we were back to the Central Cusco, the historical capital of the Inca Empire and the major heartland of tourism in Peru.  Declared a UNESCO World Heritage since 1983, both the splendid remnants of the Incas and the dazzling architecture of Colonial Spain captured our imagination ever since we entered the city.  Five centuries ago in 1533, Francisco Pizarro arrived in Cusco and sacked the city, converting the marvelous Inca capital into a colonial city with Roman Catholic churches and convents, many of which still remain standing today.  With the Sacred Valley and the lost world of Machu Picchu within close proximity to the city, at about 3,400m above sea level Cusco serves as a crucial base for all tourists to acclimatize before trekking the Inca Trail.

Back in Cusco, we decided to try out a glass of fresh juice at Mercado San Pedro.  Cusco’s central market was just a short walk from Plaza de Armas.  The covered market was quite large, with all kinds of produces, food products, dry goods, cafeteria, and juice stalls.  From a juice vendor, we ordered a lucuma drink with milk. Lucuma is a subtropical fruit native to Peru with high level of nutrients. We made one order but the woman ended up giving us three glasses because at San Pedro juice is ordered by jar, not glass.  On our way out of the market we also bought a few tangerines.

After San Pedro, we returned to Ninos Hotel for a short break, then we headed over to the Australian owned Los Perros restaurant for lunch.  The restaurant was only a stone throw away from the city’s main square, Plaza de Armas.  We walked around the square, stopping at some of the most iconic colonial architecture in Cusco, including Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus and Cusco Cathedral and admired the historical fountain at centre and stone arcades around the plaza perimeter.

In mid afternoon, we hopped on a taxi for the hilltop Inca citadel of Saksaywaman.

2On our way to Mercado San Pedro on Calle Santa Clara.

1Iglesia de San Pedro just outside of Mercado San Pedro.

3Fruit vendors at Mercado San Pedro selling all kinds of local fruits.

4The vendor preparing our lucuma milkshake.

5Tranquil back streets near Hotel Ninos.

6Wooden balconies were common sights in Cusco and other Peruvian cities.

7Cobble stone street in Cusco.

8The Cathedral of Cusco.

9Sagrada Familia Church beside the cathedral.

10Fountain at the centre of Plaza de Armas.

11Fountain at the centre of Plaza de Armas with mountains in the backdrop.

12Plaza de Armas of Cusco.

13 Arcades were common around Plaza de Armas.

15Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús by Plaza de Armas.

* * *

Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010

LIMA
1. Peru Trip 2010
2.  Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3.  Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4.  Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5.  Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6.  Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
INCA TRAIL
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru