|Headed up to Sacsayhuaman which was a twenty minute uphill struggle from our Hostal. Our guide "Jimmy" was very informative and told us about the extensive Inca settlement. Once again the size of the stone was incredible. It has been calculated that 15 men are needed to move one ton of rock. As the Spanish mistook this site of ritual and worship as a fortress they did their best to destroy it. Many of the rocks were moved back down the hill into town and used in the construction of some of the 16 Churches and the imposing Cathedral. What remains is still impressive and with a little imagination becomes incredible. The structures originally stood some 10-12 metres high and were lived in by priests, the second class of society below the Incas.
After 90 minutes with our guide we had learnt yet more about the Incas and Danny now found himself in a dilemma. Jimmy had offered to guide Danny to Choquiquerau and had promised the path was safe. Only yesterday Danny had, after endless discussions with numerous agents with conflicting information, booked into Spanish School with me for Monday. We should have known that his momentary decisiveness was too good to be true. As we discussed his options once more a fellow traveller overheard us and proffered the information that he had just returned from Choqui having hired mules and gone it alone. Decisions, decisions.
We next headed to get a closer look at the Redeemer. One of many religious figures that look down on the city from its surrounding peaks. Definitely more attractive from afar, we soon headed back down to Sexywoman and on into town. As we stopped for a photo a Quechuan lady, with a beautifully soft voice that I couldn't resist approached selling friendship bracelets, belts and finger puppets, of which I know own ten. Later on a street kid tried to convince me I needed another ten for my toes too. Not buying that one!
Back in town we used our Boleto Touristico to visit some more museums. Neither of us are particulary interested in art and so in no time at all we had ticked off the Museums of Contemporary and Religious Art. The architecture of the Museo de Merced was stunning however, and its main attraction was a 3ft tall golden cross, heavily guarded and encrusted with 1500 pearls and diamonds. No photos permitted.
Tonight there is a music festival in the town centre. We caught an early performance of a rather motley band of school kids singing in their native Quechuan. None of them looked too thrilled to be there and they sat down as quickly as they could at the end of each song, rising belatedly at the start of the next. The stragglers at the back were particularly entertaing: pushing and shoving, stealing one anothers hats.
Tonight, we are heading back to the Plaza to see what the professional entertainers have to offer.
Day 302 complete