Helen and Paul World Tour 2005/06 travel blog

Cusco main square

Church built behind an Inca wall in Cusco

We had a few days in Cusco before meeting Jim at the airport and a few more days before embarking on the Inca Trail.

Over these days we stocked up on provisions of chocolate bars and a couple of bottles of water for us to consume during the trek when our energy levels ran low. We also bought wet weather gear as we were still in the rainy season.

The heavens didn't open whilst in Cusco, however we did cop for yet another fiesta and for more water bombs. Jim was a welcome target on his first day in Cusco for the buckets of water as he unknowingly ran beneath the balconies and it gave us chance to run behind him narrowly avoiding being targets as they reloaded. We took shelter and had a coffee in a cafe whilst we planned our escape we decided to best route back was via the shelter of a taxi. A lady was selling water bombs near to our hostel so we purchased a couple of packets and filled them up. The rest of the afternoon was spent operating an undercover mission on the balcony throwing water bombs at anyone who wasn't a Gringo to repay them for our past experiences.

Cusco is the closest large town to the Inca Trail and is the old imperial Inca capital, which was both the administrative and the religious centre of the empire. Seized by the Spanish in 1533 after the murders of the Incas Huascar and Atahualpa, many of the original Inca buildings were destroyed and their stone used to construct palaces and churches for the invaders.

The meaning of the word Cusco comes from the Quechua word 'QOSQO' that means navel, it has quite a few meanings, one of the most important is "Centre or navel of the world".

Much of the city was burned during the rebellion of 1534, however the buildings that still stand are stunningly beautiful and the streets are all paved. The main plaza is very picturesque and houses a cathedral and church that is lit up on a night.

We were staying in San Blas just past the amazing 12 sided stone! Not that amazing really. There were some nice gringo friendly eateries near us that we revelled in after not having eaten nice food for a while. The most regularly visited of these was Paddy Flaherty's Irish bar, mainly because it served good stodgy food and also because Paul could watch the football and rugby.

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