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Field Notes Close to home or in a far away jungle, there is always something marvelous to see.

Sexy Woman

PERU | Saturday, 10 April 2010 | Views [289]

Saqsaywaman

Saqsaywaman

Ascencio was waiting for us in the Plaza San Blas just as we had agreed.  He would be our driver this morning – and probably for several more days – as we explore the Inca sites around Cusco and the Sacred Valley.  We could have taken a bus to Tambomachay, the farthest and highest point for today, and walked the 8km back but the weather report was iffy and the altitude is a bitch, even heading downhill.

Tambomachay is an example of Inca ingenuity with water.  The fountains still splash crystal clear as they have done for 500 years.  Across the road Pukapukara perches fortress-like above the valley but it was more likely a guard post and rest stop for travelers.  Or maybe a hunting lodge.  The meticulously carved stones fit so neatly together that you would believe it was done with computer assisted design rather than hammers and chisels wielded by slaves brought in from Puno and Bolivia.  A little lower and nearer to Cusco sits Q’Enco, a small place of blood sacrifice.  It gets its name from the zig-zag paths that wind around and through the large limestone rock.

We saved the best for last.  Saqsaywaman (“Sexy Woman”) is a fortress that overlooks the city of Cusco.  It was built by the Inca, captured by the Spanish and recaptured by Manco Inca’s forces in 1536.  Juan Pizzaro, Francisco’s brother, lead a bloody counter-attack the finally succeeded in wiping out the Incas, leaving the battlefield littered with corpses for the condors.  While what exists today is very large it is only one-fifth the size of the original fortress.

As it turned out we had no rain until dinnertime but the 60 soles we paid Ascencio was worth it and he will meet us again tomorrow.

 

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