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The Rock-itt : December 2009
Last month I left off after arriving back at Aguas Calientes following our day exploring Machupicchu. The following day we just walked around Aguas Calientes. I was impressed by the scaffolding the builders used on a new hotel(?) At 4pm we caught the train back to Cusco, but it was seriously delayed for 2 hrs by a breakdown on the up train, single line. The delays didn't matter while we had daylight but after dark it was really trying. Cold and tired we were met and driven to Cusco where we were virtually tipped out in the Plaza de Armas and told our hotel was over there with a vague wave off to the right. It was now Monday and the last day of our tour, so tomorrow we would have to move out of our hotel or start paying $80 US for our B & B there. We joined a tour of a cathedral that had a very impressive line of portraits of sacristans, also amongst the images, the Virgin Mary wore deep green and was placed higher than Jesus, I had a feeling that the earlier nature and earth mother worship had crept in. There was also an enormous catafalque in solid silver which was used in the Corpus Christie festival carried around the city also a statue of Jesus, Apparently the Incas used to cart embalmed dead royalty around the city at about the same time of year as Corpus Christie. Religions always adopt new partners, an aspect I find fascinating, the earthmother would predate the Inca conquest, then the sun & moon took precedence, and then along came Christianity with the Spaniards, so you get this wonderfully sensitive atmosphere. On leaving the cathedral we then went to the Dominican convent which was built on the ruins of the Temple of the Sun, which we were told was completely covered with GOLD, the sun shone on the golden temple at certain times and in a certain way, so there was obviously a fairly sophisticated astronomical calendar. Next we boarded a bus to visit the Sacsayhuaman ruins which proved to be some of the most photogenic ruins never completed and was being built to the greater glory of one of the last Incas and representing a panther. We were given some explanation of Inca architecture and the way the architect would draw what would look like a jigsaw then make clay models, full size of each stone to be used as a trial run, then the stone was cut to match the clay model and as the clay had fitted so did the stone, all this using bronze tools and saws, and simply enormous blocks of stone. The following day we checked out and went to a hostel I had booked on the internet. It was ghastly. We checked out in the morning and found another that was marvellous. I will give the full address because it was good. Hostal Santa Maria. Santa Catalina Angosta 158, CUSCO Telefax 252746. We paid $25US for the 2 of us a night B&B, and had an ensuite, twin beds and a very light breakfast. Spotlessly clean too. firstname.lastname@example.org