Looking out the window, I noticed that the streets of Cuzco were wet. A storm had fallen during the night and I hadn't even heard. We went down to breakfast at the patio of the house, where Sonia had prepared a tomato omelet that reminded me of the ones I ate on my trip to India. It was still cloudy and it was so cool that I decided to put on my jacket and hat before finishing breakfast.
That morning we had thought about going to Chinchero, a nearby town known for its Sunday market and Inca ruins. We gradually went down one of the hills of Cuzco to the bus station, but when we got there we realized that if we were going to Chinchero, we would not have time to return in time to do the Cuzco City Tour We had hired the day before. Perhaps altitude sickness had not affected us much, but our brains were a little slower than normal. So we decided to go back to the city center. If the road was downhill, inevitably on the way back it was uphill and that is when you realize that it is 3300 m high. And you can see it! We were almost without oxygen every ten steps, so we had to stop here and there.
At present, as in the time of the Incas, the Heart of Cuzco is the Plaza de Armas. This place replaced the Huacaypata original, the nerve center of the Inca city, although this was very little after the arrival of the Spaniards, and the surrounding buildings were replaced by others of colonial architecture. The most obvious examples are the Church of the Society of Jesus, at the southeast end of the Plaza, and the Cathedral, which rises where formerly stood the palace of the Inca Viracocha. To enter the cathedral you have to pay, so that day we decided not to. The two structures are framed by two-story arcaded buildings that house souvenir shops, travel agencies, bars and restaurants. As Pizarro, who led the conquest of Peru from 1532, was a native of Trujillo, it is normal for the Plaza de Armas de Cuzco to have reasonable similarities with the Trujillo Main Square.
Plaza de Armas in Cusco
The City Tour started at 2pm, so about one o'clock we went to eat. In the center of Cuzco there are many restaurants with tourist menus. More or less all have the same prices and the same dishes on the menu. We opted for the Paprika restaurant and we ate corn (corn) with cheese, mushroom soup, grilled trout and sauteed (alpaca) loin. The alpaca loin is very good, the meat has a texture similar to veal and they explained that it is very healthy because it has almost no fat or cholesterol.
Sauteed alpaca loin
At the indicated time we showed up at the agency where we had hired the City Tour through Cuzco and one of the managers took us to an adjoining square because the buses are prohibited from entering the Plaza de Armas. We made the first stop of the visit at the Qoricancha, the ancient temple of the sun and one of the most important and rich centers of worship of the Inca Empire. On it was built the convent of Santo Domingo. The walls of the original temple served as foundations for the convent, but were discovered after the earthquake of 1950. They say that in the time of the Incas, the temple was covered in gold and had statues in the form of solid gold corn that were used in the rituals In addition, the Qorikancha was an astronomical center. The entrance to the Qorikancha costs 10 soles, because it is not included in the tourist ticket, a joint ticket for many centers of interest that we bought at the next stop.
Tambomachay It is more than 3700 meters high and is located on the outskirts of Cuzco. It is said that one of the sources there is is the fountain of eternal youth. We did not drink from it because we were more likely to catch an amoeba than immortality. Although this legend is not entirely true, what is known is that in Tambomachay rituals of cult of water were celebrated.