So I'm now in Cusco and have been living with a local family for the past week and they are really nice and welcoming. Astrid the grandma of the house does not speak any English but she has a good grasp of body language. Astrid is really nice and always offering hot water for hot drinks. Done a week of Spanish classes but more on that another time.
So Tuesday i got up early and tried to see the sun rise from Saqsayhuaman, the Incan ruins just about Cusco but as normal things did not go to plan. I missed the sunrise by looking in the wrong direction, it was really cloudy and the sun rose behind the mountain and trees to my left rather than were I was looking. However got a good opportunity to look around the ruins. The stones are huge, think Stonehenge but bigger stones and they have been altered to fit exactly. And I do mean exactly, its like they played a huge game of Tetris with the stones and ground down ones that didn't quite fit into the wall. How on earth they did this I have no idea or how they even managed to get the stone up to 3400 metres of Cusco. The area of the ruins itself might be half the size of Windsor castle but the size of the stones makes Windsor look like it was made with Lego bricks when compared to the huge stones.
Wednesday me and an American lady Geraldine who is also living with the host family took a bus up to Tambomachy which is 400 metres above Cusco. Our plan was to walk down from there on an old tour trail, however it has since been overgrown and is not used anymore and the local Peruvians warned us off of it. However we saw the ruins of Tambomachy and here the Incas had redirected a local stream through some walls creating fountains of water that come out of the wall. Again how they engineered this is a mystery, and again how its standing after so many years is amazing. There are another two ruins of interest on the way back to Cusco that we saw, firstly Pukapukara which was a fort that the Incas built with a commanding view of the valley in which Cusco is situated. The second site is called Qenqo ( pronounced kenco) this is a single giant rock that had been split into two parts by an earth quake and the Incas had craved ledges into the rock, it is said that young incan warriors would be placed on the ledges and given little food and water until they had a vision about what they had to do in the world.
Thursday we had a school trip to the cemetery, the Peruvians commerate their dead very differently to us. The cemetery contained many small tombs which contained it's that the deceased person might like, a doll for a young child, chocolate or coke for others, some contained pictures of the family so that the dead person would not forgot them. After the cemetery vivist we headed up to Christo blanco ( white Jesus) which is on the hill over looking Cusco, this status was a present from the Israeli people to Cusco. Pictures of both it and my class are below. From left to right, Steins, Olly, Paulo (Teacher), Me.
Next time Spanish lessons......