Photos from Cusco including rain damage
I just realised the other day that while I had stuck a bunch of photos up on Flickr at various points from Cusco, I had never actually posted any of them in a blog entry. Well, here goes.
Plaza de Armas – the main square at the heart of the city. To get from anywhere to anywhere else in Cusco inevitably involves traversing this square, with the smart move being to walk through the square itself rather than along the colonnades at the sides, infested with persistent restaurant and massage touts. But it’s all worth it for views of the Cathedral, the church of the Society of Jesus, the fountains, and the colonial balconies teeming with restaurants and bars.
Water damage – While I was in Cusco, as regular readers are well aware, it rained like it was going out of style and caused all manner of problems in the city and the surrounding area, washing out bridges and trapping people in Machu Picchu. Typical of the scenes around Cusco were this collapsed shop – fortunately, nobody was killed – other buildings being braced up with wooden beams, and very typical scenes of utterly rained-out streets.
Sacsayhuaman – This largish Incan religious complex is on a hill overlooking central Cusco, and is accessible by a breathless walk up a street and a trail. I really enjoyed the Imperial-style stonework (massive 50-ton rocks fit together with millimetre precision and no mortar) and mostly enjoyed my time up there, bar the persistent guides/touts who kept intercepting me throughout the site, and the one local on the top of the hill who walked up and asked me what I knew about Scientology. I told him where to stick it.
Qorincancha (AKA San Domingo) – The Incas built a temple complex including a Temple of the Sun and a Temple of the Moon near the centre of town. When the Conquistadores arrived, they built a Dominican church on the Inca foundations. An earthquake in the 1950s destroyed the church but left the Incan foundations intact. In the gardens outside I saw a black bumblebee with blue wings, a new one for me.
Nightlife – Since it rained a lot, and I ended up spending more time in Cusco than planned, I got to know a few of the night spots – and the inhabitants – pretty well. Highlights were KM 0 in San Blas (always a fun night of live music), Indigo behind the main square (really friendly staff and fantastic Massaman curry), and the time I was randomly invited to join in on a Quechua birthday party in a bodega. I also really enjoyed the food in Fallen Angel, and Macondo, and of course Indigo. But I think I’ll steer clear of guinea pig (cuy) in future as it was simply too much hard work for little morsels of meat which, in the end, weren’t that tasty.
Although I am glad to be out of Cusco (and boy, Lima and then Buenos Aires successively are a real shock to the system) I am also glad of the time I spent there and the opportunity to get to know the place and some of the people there. On the whole, I found the people (both local and otherwise) to be very friendly and helpful, especially in comparison to Lima, where I found the opposite. But more on that later…