Cuzco Part I and Arequipa

June 30, 2008 - Arequipa, Peru

Next it was onto Cuzco in Peru which is kind of like the cultural capital of south america - it was the centre of the Inca empire, its located near the Sacred Valley (Urubamba Valley) which contains many historical Inca Sites of which Machu Picchu is the most famous. The Inca civilisation was a relatively recent civilisation whose downfall occurred at the hand of spanish conquistadors in the 1530s and Quechuan (which was the language of the Incan empire) speaking people are still very numerous in peru and bolivia today.

We landed in Cuzco 2 days before the Inti Raymi Festival (festival of the sun). I was still feeling under the weather with food poisoning and it wasn't exactly the way I wanted to be on arrival in Cuzco. My first day there was spent in bed. But the next day I got to wander around to the central square and to the market which was really impressive and definitely worth a visit if your ever in these parts. That night after thinking the food posioning was out of my system I had a bit of a relapse which was annoying - the next day was the day of the festival and I didn't want to miss the festivities up on the Inca ruin Saqsaywaman (which mean satisfied falcon) it was formerly an Inca fortress overlooking the city. We headed up to have a look at what was going on plenty of parades and celebrations with hoardes of locals and tourists alike there to enjoy it all. Its really just a big family day out and locals have family picnics up on the hill overlooking the show grounds in Saqsaywaman but also there is plenty going on in the town later on in the evening.

Other than attending the festival in Cuzco we where ahead of schedule for our Inca Trail which we where due to do on the 3rd of July so we decided to head down for a few days to the town of Arequipa in southern Peru just a mere 12 hour overnight bus journey (12 hour bus journeys are a breeze these days - although I can never sleep on a bus its getting annoying at this stage). Have to say also i was really impressed by this town it's got really nice streets and has an amazing climate in which it never rains and has a pleasant temperature of 22-25 degrees C all year round because of its location and altitude of 2200 metres above sea level. It is also situated beneath an dormant volcano El Misti and the snow capped Chachani mountain - the town has a good night life and is one of the wealthiest cities in peru so is fairly safe. We had a great few days here chilling out in the sunshine in hammocks doing go karting (which i won after Ger bigging himself up as he's big into his motor sports haha) and white water rafting on the Rio Chilli which was good craic and we had this american guide who was a good laugh and tried to tip us out of the boat on a number of occasions but failed (even though I wouldn't have minded a dip). Oh yeah and Arequipa had a turkish restaurant which had kebabs which was a major plus - my first decent kebab since Zaytoons in Dublin... so that was a major plus in my book.

Arequipa was good fun, relaxing and plenty to see and do around it - so much so we might head back after completing our Trail to Machu Picchu on return to Cuzco which was our next stop.

(ps blog is back upto date after letting it slip there for a few weeks)


4 Comments

Dad:
July 3, 2008
Brian.
Well done in keeping us well informed,keep up the enjoyment, no more food poisoning!Pictures are lovely.
Dad
sean:
July 10, 2008
Mass protests in Peru now I see - trouble seems to be following you around!
Brian:
July 14, 2008
Aye seen there was protests there and disruption to buses - but for once it didn't effect me!
sean:
July 22, 2008
Where are you Brian??
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