Cusco (or Qosco as it was called by the Incas), was the capital of their empire. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a beautiful city with red-tiled roofs, pretty plazas, plenty of shopping and some great restaurants. Oh, and the archeological sites aren't too shabby either! We made the long, steep trek uphill from Plaza des Armas (where a couple of the Inca Kings were executed) to Sacsayhuaman, which seems unpronouncable until you hear people calling it "sexy woman". Another amazing place with huge blocks of rocks joined together seamlessly and fabulous views of the city. The other main site in Cusco is the Korichanca. This was the Incan sanctuary that was dedicated to the worship of the Sun God (Inti) and was also known as the Golden Temple because it was apparently covered in gold until the Spanish got their hands on it. The Spanish dismantled the temple but left the original Inca foundations and used them to form the base of the modern building, The Convent of Santo Domingo. It was fascinating to find out that there have been a series of earthquakes over the years that have repeatedly destroyed the overlying Spanish buildings but haven't harmed the underlying Inca structures. The Inca engineers knew how to design earthquake proof buildings!
After a couple of days in Cusco, we could walk without stopping to catch our breath every few feet so we figured we were ready for our lodge to lodge hiking trip with Mountain Lodges of Peru. We attended the pre-trip meeting where we got the scoop on the plan for the next day and also met our main guide, Pepe, assistant guide, Lizaida and the rest of the group. We are a group of 13 made up of the 4 of us, David, Louise, Francois and Dominique from Quebec, Cristina and Sven from Switzerland, Claire from Australia and her friends Colin and Isabelle who are originally from France but currently living in Washington. Seems like a great group of people and we're ready to head out on our adventure tomorrow morning.