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January 27, 2015

Cusco & Sacred Valley

From Lima, we flew to Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire. It's a heavily touristed place, due to the archeological sites and proximity to the Sacred Valley, and also because it's a good place to get used to the altitude if you want to do the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu. I couldn't put my finger on it but there was something of a European small-town feel to the old part of Cusco, although the buildings aren't very European. The altitude was definitely hitting us hard, on the first night I got breathless after climbing into bed.




The Temple of the Sun (Qurikancha), and important Incan temple which the Spanish then built a church into/onto.



Saqsaywaman, a complex of walls on the outskirts above Cusco. Incan engineering/architecture/building was insane.


We were a bit distracted by the llamas though.


Tambomachay, a sort of water conducting system.


View of Cusco from there.


The main square at night.


Sacred Valley (Urumbumba Valley), where there are loads of archeological sites.


Such as Pisac and its terraces, used for farming.



A souvenirs market.


Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley, an Incan town with more terraces in the shadow of a mountain.




Walking down to Ollantaytambo train station...


For the train to Aguas Calientes, the base town for Macchu Pichu!

We visited all the important sites with a tour guide, which I think is worth having in this case so the significance and history of things can be explained. It was really interesting how such large-scale things were built (with all the stones all fitted properly together without mortar) and how carefully calculated according to the position of the sun at certain times.

30 comments:

  1. awesome pics! such a wonderful place to visit!

    www.bstylevoyage.blogspot.com

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  2. how beautiful and amazing are these sites. i love visiting places places that have been preserved from long long ago. when i visited korea long ago those were the only places that were so memorable :)

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  3. Awesome! What a wonderful trip so far! :D

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  4. So awesome, what a beautiful place! And those llamas :)

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  5. That wooden door is so beautiful. You've inspired me to make this trip. Just need to figure out how to prepare for the altitude. I want to enjoy the trip and not be sick the whole time. What a drag that would be.
    Texas Jak
    http://www.novermyhead.com

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    Replies
    1. Ah yeah the altitude got to me a bit. I think it varies between people!

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  6. Wow, these photos are stunning! I studied anthropology in college so I would love to go there - so many archaeological sites! It's really interesting that the Spanish built a church onto the temple. I can't imagine the holy vibes that place has!

    COOCOO FOR COCO

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  7. Great photos, the views look magnificent! I can't wait for your Machu Picchu photos. Did it take a while to adjust to the altitude?

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    1. I don't think I adjusted at all! I was breathless the whole time.

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  8. Gosh, those structures look amazing! I can't even imagine how impressive they'd be in person. I only learnt a little bit about the Incas in school, but the history definitely is fascinating.

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  9. Oh Jane! Your trip posts so far is enough to leave all of us envious! You have to appreciate how natural and beautiful it is there, even with the high altitude when you're not used to it. Everything is so picturesque. The main square at night looks like the place to be!

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  10. Ah. I absolutely adore places like these - so jealous of your trip!

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  11. oh man, i can't wait to see your photos of macchu pichu! i'm so jealous, this is making me want to go to south america so badly i just looked up how expensive flights are, haha. beautiful photos of course.

    jessica - littlehenrylee.com

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  12. I think this is such a beautiful area of the world! I'm really enjoying seeing all he photos and reading about your trip!

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  13. Llamas though. It's a dream of mine to visit this part of the world, I got obsessed after seeing a programme when I was a teen. Never actually been any place where altitude is an issue, I need to explore more. London ain't cutting it.

    Buckets & Spades

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  14. Oh wow, these photos are beautiful! I have always wanted to visit Cusco as well as hike to Macchu Pichu. I've heard the elevation can be brutal, so I definitely imagine that preparation is needed.

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  15. So nice to see that you went to the same locations as I did! I also did Arequipa and Colca Canyon. But Machu Picchu is of course the absolute highlight in Peru.

    www.LUXESSED.com

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  16. wow the views are stunning! love the llamas too :)

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  17. HOLY. WOW. that looks so incredible!!! I know what you mean about the altitude, you don't think it will effect you so much but it really knocks you about. Did you find much at those markets because the colours are so beautiful!

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    1. Ah I didn't end up buying anything! I've got no more room for souvenirs but I'm slightly regretting it now.

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  18. Oh how I love your travel posts so much! Cusco looks so incredibly beautiful this landscape is stunning. Ollantaytambo is incredible. This landscape combined with that last photo of the train sort of gives me a bit of a Wes Anderson's Darjeeling Limited feel. I really hope to travel to south america one day as well.

    Rae | love from berlin

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  19. This might be an odd question, but were the llamas friendly? I hear that they can be quite aggressive, but gosh they're so cute!

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  20. incredible photos! and those llamas... so cute.

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  21. So beautiful!!! I can't believe how amazing it looks.

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  22. Gorgeous perspective here Jane!! Did you meet any locals? What were they like?

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    1. People there are SO friendly, if they're sick of tourists it really doesn't show!

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  23. Your blog is currently like a beautiful oasis of comical llamas and I am loving it.

    (Weirdest comment I've ever left on blogger hahah)
    On a serious note, the photograph third from the bottom is astounding. Like crazy beautiful.

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  24. I'm so happy places like these still exist in our world of pain and deceit. Amazing pictures too!

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