Cusco, Ancient Capital of the Inca

We spend a few days in Cusco between our jungle and Machu Picchu trips.  It’s convenient, although exceedingly touristy: everywhere you go in the centre, you are asked if you’d like to buy a painting or a llama hat, or take a picture of a local woman with a baby llama.   We are at an altitude of 3300 metres, and although we hear stories from other acquaintances about feeling unwell, or even having altitude sickness, we seem to adjust fairly easily (it must be all those long bus journeys!).  Nice and peaceful as our convent hostel is, we occasionally feel the need to venture into town – here’s Paul from the Starbucks balcony which overlooks the main square, the Plaza de Armas.  Our excuse is using their wifi, but it sucks, so we just drink coffee.
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There are some beautiful buildings of course: this is the cathedral on the main square.
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We’re in town during an Arts Festival, which includes lots of typical music and dancing.  Here are some of the locals in their traditional costume.
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Any excuse and the Cusquenans are quick to join in the parade.  This day they even rope in the local pre-school children, dressed in traditional costume or as animals, flowers, and cartoon characters.
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We wander around and venture up the extremely steep streets, needing to catch our breath on the way and reminded of the altitude.
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Looking forward to our planned trip to Machu Picchu!

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