Dom: Cuzco, or Qosq'o in Quechua, lies at 3326m. It's the archaeological centre of the Americas and was the centre of the Inca empire for its 500-ish year rule. But it all went wrong when the Spanish rolled up with all guns blazing. After looting and rampaging through the city they set their sites on Lima which became the new capital of the region. The Quechua language is now spoken as a second tongue at best, in rural places. (Lucky for us, as Spanish is tricky enough.) Despite Spanish enjoyment at killing and maiming the local population, they had time to build a stunning main square (Plaza de Armas). We've had a lot of pleasure from wandering among the cobbled streets of this Inca/Spanish city.
Incidentally the flag of Cuzco is the same as the international sign for gays. This caused much consternation in this Catholic oriented country and they are considering changing what has been their symbol since the age of the Incas. Obviously they must be worried about hordes of gays mistakenly arriving here thinking it's their promised land!
My enjoyment of Cuzco was ruined when I got ill. Went to bed fine then woke up at 4am sick as a dog. Eventually C called for a doctor because she was worried about me. She didn't have to worry anymore, as Doctor Willy came to the rescue. He took my temperature, listened to my chest, injected drugs into my behind, and prescribed some tablets. I wasn't sure what to do when he started talking about injections, and he seemed a little taken aback when I asked to see some proof that he was a doctor before dropping my pants. But it all seemed to work. I'm used to haggling over all kinds of goods you find in markets but bargaining with Doctor Willy over how much it would cost for him to stick a needle in my left cheek was a bit strange.
One day later I was well enough to board the bus for a tour of the Sacred Inca Valley. We visited Pisaq and Ollantaytambo, both homes to Inca citadels perched on hill-tops. Our guide explained that Incas built on hills so as to leave the flat ground completely over to agriculture. It was probably also a question of defence. Crops were also grown on hillsides on terraces cut into the slopes.
The scenery at these locations was very natural. There was nothing to spoil the scenery except a road snaking down the valley. Our guide explained that the Inca belief in the energy of the earth and their closeness to nature dictated that they live in beautiful locations like these. Their own well-being was related to the environment around them. The combination of the drugs and the scenery made me feel high on life.
However, Pisaq and Ollantaytambo were just a taster for our next port of call.
C - All this energy of the earth talk put me into hippy mode as I followed instruction sat at the top of the site eyes closed and tried to feel and listen to the natural energy of the Earth. This reminded me alot of the Celestine Prophecy - if you've read the book you'll know what i'm going on about. It also made me think how much the ways of the world have changed. The Incas built their sites in these beautiful places as all they cared about was worshipping nature. They didn't worship a God but rather the sun and the moon. They didn't need money or go off to work everyday and they grew their own food and spent all day with their families.
What happened hey?