The Incan ruins on the neighboring mountain overlooking Cusco are spelled fifty different ways, including Sacsaywaman and Sacsayhuaman. They’re all pronounced the same, and it sounds like Sexy Woman. I decided to take a hike up there today. Here are my photos!
I walked through San Blas Plaza and it was Artist Market Day!
I was almost sidetracked from my hike altogether.
I have to make up devices to remember all the Quechua street names. This one I call “Choke A Chicken Street”
I’m not sure I’m on the right road, but it’s definitely going the right direction. Up.
See that hill in the background, with the wooden cross on top? I *think* that’s where Im headed. I’m a little scared, since walking across the apartment still leaves me winded.
Another street. More “up.”
Passed this cute shop with a doggie sleeping in the doorway.
More stairs. And another doggie.
Looking back down at where I’ve come from.
Looking back down from the stairs to Sacsayhuaman. This is how many people of Cusco live. Those $2 lunches probably don’t seem so cheap to them.
Finally arrive at the structure. That cornerstone at the foot of the wall is as tall as me!
There are Quechua women up here, selling their wares. Can’t escape them!
Those Incans just loved to haul massive stones around and piece them together. They did it without mortar, cutting the stones to fit together perfectly.
No one really knows how they could have built all this, give the tools they had at the time (pre-1530)
There’s a white Christ statue on the next hill.
A gorgeous view of Cusco, the valley, and the surrounding Andes.
I can see the Plaza De Armas from up here!
I did it! I reached the giant wooden cross!
Alpacas! and more of the Sacsayhuaman site in the background. See the dark vertical line on the hill, near the left of the photo? That’s a staircase for people to walk up and down. What looks like stairs to the right of that are taller than a person.
Twin alpacas sharing something delicious.
Stone doorway. This place is like a little preview of Machu Picchu.
That dark vertical line on the right of the photo is that staircase we saw earlier.
My favorite view – Sacsayhuaman in the foreground, the city I hiked up from in the distance.
Turns out I could cross a rickety wooden bridge and hike up to the White Christ statue as well, so I went for it!
“Enter through the gift shop.” At the top of that hill, I was not really surprised to find Quechua women selling their wares. i bought a ceramic sugar bowl for 5 soles. In a shop in Cusco, the same bowl is 18 soles.
Looking back at the other hill, where the wooden cross was.
Quechua man with a flute, playing something that sounded a lot like Simon & Garfunkel to me.
Three more crosses, behind the Christo Blanco
Detail of one of the crosses.
A boy and his llama. He asked for 3 soles for this photo, we settled on 2. He immediately ran into that shop in the background and bought himself a soda.
On my way down, I can hear drums and music. There are clearly a LOT of people gathered in the square. I walk down to investigate (and eat at the Thai restaurant I had spotted on the square previously)
From the Thai restaurant, I have a beautiful view of the Plaza.
From the restaurant window, I watch the parade of dancers and musicians go by.
Part of the parade
Beautifully embroidered costumes.
Detail of the embroidery
People watching the parade & dancers from the restaurant window
See that pink gold color on the hills to the right? It really looks like that, every evening around 5:30pm. The light here is magnificent.
Walking home after dinner. I kicked altitude sickness’s butt today. Feels pretty good!