Tues 3rd January- After a good night’s sleep, we woke up early and headed down for a light breakfast at 7am, and whilst we weren’t feeling 100%, we both wanted to still go on the organised walking & city tour of Cusco and surrounding areas.
You can’t come all this way and spend it in your room, no matter how “off” you felt. Our belief was unless the bucket was your best friend, you just push through. And boy are we pleased we pushed…. we would have missed so much if we had given up to the altitude!
Our first stop was the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin- a magnificent church in the centre of town. Unfortunately photo taking was not permitted inside the building which was such a shame- it was stunning, gold leaf covered the building. ( thanks to all those naughty people who disregarded the rules and then shared them- me, i’m not a rule breaker).
Throughout our tour of the cathedral we were told how the Peruvians wanted to add their own touches to their church, so the Virgin Mary was predominately displayed everywhere. She was displayed as “mountain like” most of the time, as the Peruvians worshipped the mountains and mother nature (more so that worshipping God and Jesus)
When she wasn’t shown as a mountain, she was shown as heavily pregnant. ( Our tour guide told us that they didn’t believe in the immaculate conception so they had no issue showing her as pregnant).
The cathedral also had a crucified Christ on display (but he bore more resemblance to the Peruvian people with his dark skin that the white Christ that we were familiar with).
And what we found the most strange was that many of the artworks that graced the walls resembled the great masterpieces of Europe, but they were done by local artists and they had the “Peruvian twist” to them:
The Last Supper ( as done by a Peruvian artist) had Jesus and his disciples sitting at the table of feast with potatoes and guinea pig as the main parts of the meal. Above them, in the middle window, the sun and moon (who they treasure) look down on the feast, while they show the crucifixion of Jesus in the far left hand corner. A very different last supper to what we are used to seeing.
After the Cathedral tour, we walked across to the Monastery, which featured original Inca Walls within the Monastery. It was interesting to see how the Spanish (who had invaded Peru at the time) chose to use the original Inca Walls as the foundations to build the monastery on top of them.
During our entire day tour, we heard over and over, about how good the Incas were at building walls. We heard how those original walls stood the test of time (and earthquakes) while everything around them tumbled and crumbled.
Pride in wall building was a BIG part of our day tour. We walked around the city after visiting the monastery and were shown even more walls inside galleries, and then just for something different, we saw more walls that lined the streets.
After walking for an hour or so (when we were really supposed to be resting and acclimatising) the tourist bus finally picked us up for the rest of the day’s tour, and we though, hooray, we can rest now and just look out the window for the rest of the day.
Check out my next blog to see if we were right…………..