The market is the most interesting I've been to. The first section is the fruit smoothie section and you can get any combination of fruits and vegetables you want for an incredibly low price from a woman with a beautiful smile. At the other end of the market is the meat section which is quite interesting. Among other delicacies are beef jaw bones that the diners sell by the hundred and the sheep skulls which are the main ingredient of the sopa de cabeza. This woman's specialty is I'm not quite sure what but she is also smiling as she works.
I was in Cusco for a day last month with the family and left unimpressed. I just returned for a couple of days and came away liking the place more. I still think it is more of a way station on the road to elsewhere but it does have its sights. Cusco was the capital of the Inca empire, considered to be the navel of the universe, and the center of religion and government. The problem for the modern day tourist is that the Spanish obliterated most of the Inca structures in order to stamp out past religious practice and to impose a new social and political order. The church of the convent of Santa Catalina was intentionally built on the foundation of the Inca Temple of the Sun long after the Spaniards looted it of tons of precious metal.
The Plaza de Armas is the center of Peruvian towns and cities and Cusco is no exception. Cusco's is in line with the paradox of Peru. On the one hand it is the least interesting I've been to. It's full of tourists and vendors of trinkets. While I admire the work ethic of the vendors, I tire of the spiel of the 20th offer of "original" art that is the exact same as the prior 19 "artists." And then, when I'm about to escape to the hotel, the street in front of the cathedral fills with the cutest kids imaginable dancing in costume in a competition in honor of the Virgin of Carmen.
Here are a few more pictures of the market in Cusco, you know you're not in Kansas anymore.
Here are some photos of places in Cusco.
Sacsayhuaman is the fortress above Cusco reportedly capable of holding a garrison of 5,000. From here, the last great threat to Spanish control was launched by Manco Inca in 1536, a 10 month siege of the Cusco. Much of the outer wall remains intact but most of the internal buildings are gone, having been used as a quarry for much of the Spanish construction below. Many of the stones are massive, as heavy as 125 tons, and were quarried and transported over 30 miles of mountainous terrain without the benefit of the wheel.