15 May 2008

Cuzco, Peru

I arrived in Lima, the capital of Peru covered from head to toe in hives. I had a reaction to the anti-malaria tablet I took the Sunday before leaving for our holiday. We had an overnight stay in Lima and headed to Cuzco the city closest to Machu Picchu.

During the Inca times, Cuzco was Peru's capital city and has many beautiful Inca ruins on the outskirts of the city. With Cuzco being 10,912 feet above sea level, we felt the effects immediately when we got off the plane from Lima. We both felt dizzy and light headed as well as suffered with headaches and shortness of breath for the first couple of days.

Our first couple of days we explored the surrounding areas of Cuzco with our guide telling us about the history of Peru from the various ‘theories’ about the Inca times to when the Spanish invaded.

While exploring The Cathedral we loved viewing the paintings that the Spaniards had local artists copy because what they did was put their own take on the Spanish paintings by adding in local flowers, hidden Inca symbols, made people look a little more Incan than Spanish and included local animals every now and then.

The Spanish had the Virgin Mother painted in wide dresses or capes to indicate the mountains because the Incan people honoured Mother Earth and many of the mountains are identified as deities and/or gods.

We visited Sacsayhuaman (easier to pronounce as ‘sexy woman’) which is a complex consisting of huge stones distributed in a zigzag pattern in three platforms with an average length of 1,181 feet. The largest stone block found there is almost 28 feet high and weighs 361 tons. They believe that the construction took approximately 50 years to complete and it took 50,000 men to construct. The site was buried by the Spanish as a way of colonising the locals after the Spanish invaded.

We also visited Tambomachay, a favourite resting place of the Incas and consists of a set of stone structures finely carved, aqueducts and waterfalls originating from nearby springs and thermal sources.

To view our photos, please visit our Cuzco photo album.

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