The Journal  

30 January 2006


Author: Jeremiah

Photographer: Holly


Cuzco , Peru

January 16-19

Like Nazca, the former Incan capital of Cuzco is a tourist center with every other store front along the street housing a tour operator and the spaces in between filled with restaurants that serve pizza, chocolate pancakes and give you ketchup with your eggs without you having to ask for it. The few remaining businesses are split between liquor stores and places that sell souvenirs. On the streets around the central plaza, foreigners outnumber locals two to one.


Cuzco 's rainbow-colored city flag holds significance to Incan beliefs that rainbows were sacred.

But the crowds mean competition is strong competition and prices are good. We found the best hostel prices we had encountered in Peru in Cuzco and pre-fixe dinner meals could be had for less than a U.S. dollar.


Jeremiah dines on bread and jam next to an unidentifiable fur pelt.

One of the oldest inhabited cities in the Americas , the Incans were building Cuzco before the 12th century A.D. They used the stone city as their base to conquer most of an Andean region that stretched from modern day Colombia to Chile , which they dominated until the Spanish arrived.

Cuzco 's main plaza holds two stone churches, the cathedral and the Iglesia de El Triunfo. When the Spanish, led by Fransisco Pizzaro, entered the city in 1533 they tore down all of the Incan palaces and temples, using their foundations and stones to build their own. Several streets off the plaza are lined by Incan walls of huge stones with meticulously hand-fitted and mortar-free joints.


A boy pushes his toy truck along an old walkway in a courtyard near the town center.


We visited Cuzco during its rainy season. A girl in a travel agency said that Cuzco has its rainy season where it rains mostly at night and its cold season where it never snows but gets very chilly.


Two boys got into a playful competition as to who could keep the colorful knit hat on longer.

Many of the descendants of the Inca now walk the streets of Cuzco as beggars, often women with babies who plead for you to take their picture or small, dirty children who don't say a word but merely stretch out an empty hand. We stayed in Cuzco two days, using the first to catch up on our journals and the second for our trip to Machu Picchu.



All photographs © Holly Marcus / Page design by Robin Marcus