Cusco, Peru – Take your money and go to Cusco

On Cusco’s Plaza de Armas everybody only wants our very best: our money. Indígenas sell souvenirs, restaurants wave with their menus and somebody wants to give me a massage at each corner. Street traders offer umbrellas and rain ponchos. If you ever wanted to know your fate from coca leaves, here’s the place to do it. Each shoeshine boy in Cusco offers me today at least once to clean my muddy hiking boots. This doesn’t make sense when I have to wade later again to our camper through the inches deep mud on the campground. The impertinent beggars are most brazen since they want to have my money without any consideration, just because of the fact that I have more than they do. What’s actually correct, and they look like they really could need it.

The Plaza de Armas, Cusco’s central plaza, is a running the gauntlet for the soft-hearted, but a pulsating lively piece of history hundreds of years old. Here is the unavoidable cathedral, whose ornate interior can be visited for stiff 25 PEN per person (you can buy the boleto religioso for 50 PEN instead that opens the doors of most churches in town). I would have been interested, but I assume that the Catholic Church doesn’t need my money after robbing the Incas. La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús is situated on the bordering plaza side and looks even more elaborate than the cathedral.

Arcades and even more churches adorn the Plaza de Armas, and there are more plazas with more churches and more arcades in town. People bustle about in-between, too many cars force their way through the alleys, and there are covered market in places. Cusco is a definitely beautiful and especially interesting city although it’s difficult to experience tourism in such a pureness anywhere else on this continent. Despite low season the number of visitors seems to exceed the number of inhabitants in some places.

Especially interesting are the old Inca walls that reach up metres high everywhere, mostly in the pedestrian alleys, until they are superseded by colonial stonework further up. Calle Hatunrumiyoc is a very good sample where a 12sided stone can be admired, which was perfectly fit into the surrounding blocks.

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