The ancient Inca fortress known as Sacsayhuaman towers above Cusco, just a 30-40 minute walk/hike from our apartment. The name Sacsayhuaman in Quechua means something like “seat of the eagle,” though the locals like to laugh that tourists remember it as “sexy woman” since that is somewhat close to how the name is pronounced.
The walk is nearly all uphill, of course, and at such high altitude it can really get your heart pumping (I take comfort in knowing that even the locals walking up the hills were out of breath.) But the view from the top – so worth it.
Can you see the Plaza de Armas? That place is huge. There’s also a token Jesus statue looking down over the city from a hilltop adjacent to the ruins.
Hey, look – it’s us! We are alive and well, if a little rough around the edges these days :)
There are alpaca wandering around everywhere. They look a little mangy up here, but still pretty cute. Also, the ever-present Quechua lady leading around an alpaca in hopes of making a few coins for photos (they are everywhere in Cusco.) We finally acquiesced because John wanted to pet the alpaca and thought maybe she’d let him get away with it. No such luck – she quickly yelled at him for doing so.
John was obsessed with how amazing the stonework is. Every stone was carved to perfectly fit the ones around it, and there is no mortar. A single piece of paper wouldn’t fit between many of the stones on these walls. In all fairness, I think most of him amazement was due to watching too many episodes of the History Channel program Ancient Aliens, which proposed that ancient Inca couldn’t possible have built such walls without extraterrestrial help. Everyone has a theory, I guess. Still, it is pretty impressive.
The scale of this place is huge. I’m not sure how they moved those enormous rocks around.
There are spots all over where you can tell they carved chunks of stone out. Most of them look like little seats, and a few are chunks taken out of walls. (Side note for Tricia – I was this close to climbing into one of the wall ones to take a photo in a small space as a Europe flashback. Not sure what stopped me, but know that I thought of it :) )
And of course, you can’t go to an Inca ruin without thinking of doing a yoga pose there. At least, I can’t. I had to hop over a wall to get to the grassy ledge for this pose. After I came back, John tried to hop down and do a pose. He was totally busted by the authorities who quickly shooed him back onto the approved areas. Either it pays to go first, or being 6’5″ and wearing a bright green jacket make you more conspicuous.
This is just the first of many Inca sites we’ll be visiting – including Machu Picchu in two weeks!