We arrived in Lima and the next day took a morning flight to Cuzco. Cuzco is the center for travel in Peru. It is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Americas. The foundations of buildings and street are formed from Inca built stonework. The local people speak both Spanish and Quecha, the language of the Incan civilization. Cuzco is at a high altitude of almost 11,000 feet; when you get off the plane be prepared to breath deeply! The hotels offer guests a cup of mate de coca, tea made from coca leaves. This does help and it tastes good too! And no, you don't get high on coca tea! (Be sure to read about soroche- altitude sickness before you travel to Peru.) Sit on the left side of the plane for the best view of the Andes:
In Cuzco we stayed at the Hotel Picoaga. It's a very good place; lots of hot water; good restaurant; excellent service; and great coca tea. We were able to store our main bags there as we went on our various excursions. We visited several sites in and around Cuzco including its cathedral:
And Gobind posed with some shoe shine boys (who each somehow got a dollar from him.)
We also went to several Inca sites near Cuzco including Tamboy Machay, Puca Pucara, and here we are at Sacsayhuaman, which means "satisfied falcon." The Incas planned Cuzco, their capital, in the shape of a puma. You can see this in these ruins, which formed the puma's head. Much of the site was destroyed by the Spanish, but walls and foundations are still very impressive.
For more pictures of the area around Cuzco, please see the Photo Album page.
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