Archive > November 2010

Cusco at Night

Our Street, Aktosycuchi

Finally after a month in Cusco, I was able to drag Lena out of bed into the cold night to experience Cusco at night. The moon was full and high and we waited until as late as we possible could so that there were fewer people and cars on the streets to disturb the photos! It’s a really beautiful city sometimes, and it’s strangely come to feel really a bit like home. Our nice apartment, going to school every morning, walking familiar streets in a foreign country, our favorite bakery, the insane San Pedro market, ruins just a few minutes from the house… It’s a really strange city, but it starts to get to you after a while and I think that though we are both excited to move on and see what’s coming next on this journey- We will both also be a little sad to leave this place…

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Lena Admiring Tipon

Our very last weekend in Cusco! We had finished our Spanish classes and have been busy preparing for our upcoming journey to Machu Picchu via Salkantay. But our Spanish teacher had organized an excursion to nearby Tipon and convinced us to come along.

Tipon is an ancient Inca site in the Sacred Valley located about 15km from Cusco. It is believed to have been a hold place for upper class members of the society and a center of agricultural importance. There is also a very impressive Intiwarwi (Sun Temple) high above the agricultural terraces. This was one of the most advanced of the Incan cities in the area in terms of engineering, and there is an impressive system of canals and fountains that still function to this day- many hundred of years later.

Tipon Panorama

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Hike to the Ruins

Beautiful Valley

This past weekend, Lena and I finally ventured out of Cusco for the day for a hike in the surrounding countryside. Within less than 8km of Cusco there are at least seven major Inca ruins in the hills here. There are many of smaller ones as well, unnamed which one sometimes stumbles upon accidentally. This day, we left from San Blas, and hiked up the hill to Q’enko. We had heard that it was possible to enter to the ruins for free, so from the hill we just walked in through the rear of the complex. We had a few minutes to explore, but when we tried to go to the main part of the ruins, we were stopped and asked for our tickets. Of course we didn’t have any, but we just played dumb, and when the guy threatened to call the police we just left. Still our plan was ruined- We couldn’t continue to the other ruins, so we just started walking in the other direction where we heard there were other ruins which could be visited for free. So, from there we walked across the countryside and eventually found the Temple of the Moon and from there followed an ancient Inca road over the valley pass to Puka Puch’ara. By the end of the day when we made it back to Cusco, we had walked more than 18km- Good training for our upcoming trek to Machu Picchu.

Panorama from Templo de la Luna

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Jason at Pisac Market

After we were already two and a half weeks in Cusco and never had time on the weekends to get out of Cusco to see something of the surroundings, we finally made it last Sunday to Pisac. Pisac is located in the “Sacred Valley”, as the surrounding area is referred to around Cusco, because so many Inca ruins are found here. And on every Sunday there is the spectacle of a huge handicraft market in Pisac, attracting both tourists, and locals alike. One can really get lost in this market. The entire marketplace of Pisac and all the little streets around are studded with stalls, selling all imaginable kind of handicraft products of Peru: Scarves and sweaters made of alpaca wool, colorful caps and sleeves, Jewellery, ornate carved gourds, Ponchos, Masks and much more.

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Yanapay Halloween


Our very first week at Aldea Yanapay happened to be the week of Halloween. We had no idea Halloween was so popular in Peru, but the kids were already busy at work preparing their costumes when we arrived. Each week, there is a particular theme at Yanapay which we try to teach to the kids in some small ways; This week, the theme was recycling and so, we were building our costumes from completely recycled materials. It was a hectic week full of paint, glitter, and glue, and was quite a shock for our first week working with the project… It was however, a great introduction, and an easy way to work with the kids- even without words.

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Aldea Yanapay

Voluntarios Por Amor

A Brief Introduction:

We have been working for Aldea Yanapay for two weeks now, and have wanted to post some photos from the school since we started… Aldea Yanapay is a social organization here in Cusco working with children from 4-13 year-olds in one of the poorer parts of Cusco. We work with the children about four hours a day, helping with their homework, playing games, teaching art classes, or introducing them to other cultural subjects like world-religion, environment, social issues, art, or theater (The themes of the last two weeks have been Recycling, and Inca Religion)

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