Cusco is an amazing city. Beautiful situated in a large valley along the spine of the Andes in central south Peru, it is the major city near all of the historical Inca ruin sites and the mystical sacred valley. Rolling mountain peaks surround the city and the neighborhoods crawl up the slopes creating classic vistas and steep stepped lanes leading back to the Plaza De Armas. It was the main city and center of the Inca empire. The entire city was planned and in its original state was laid out in the shape of a puma.
When we fist arrived, we where so twisted from the long 24 hour bus ride that we relaxed in our guest house for a while until venturing out into the city. Bethany was feeling very sick, and I wasn’t in the best shape either. The day was filled with lunch and a slow walk around the Plaza De Armas and surrounding streets. It is a very touristy area, with many backpacker and travel agencies. In the Plaza, countless street merchants approach you trying to sell postcards, shoe shines, paintings and crafts. When walking by a restaurant or cafe someone always tries to convince you to come in. But they are polite, and generally don’t push when denied.
As a photographer I was in heaven. There where so many amazing shots to be explored, and I started to eye all the spots I wanted to go shoot.
The night ended light, and we all went to sleep very early as we knew the next day was going to packed with figuring out how to get to Machu Picchu, and exploring the city.
In the morning Geneva and I headed to the train station to see about tickets and travel to Machu Picchu . We found out that we were going to have to wait 2 days for a spot, but we booked seats and headed back to see how Bethany was doing. We all headed out to grab breakfast and walk the city. We ended up walking into one of the various storefronts offering tours and signed up for a tour of Inca sites throughout the sacred valley leading up to Machu Picchu. We booked the tour for the next day. The rest of the day was walking the city.
As you walk the streets of Cusco, many of the walls of the buildings are part of the old Inca city. The stone work is mind blowing. Each stone is carved to fit the others touching it nearly perfectly. There is not enough space to slip a sheet of paper into.
This street is famous as an example of Inca masonry. Each one of these stones is almost a meter across. and they are fitted beautifully together. They where hand polished into a perfect fit.
I had separated from Bethany and Geneva earlier and went off to take some pictures. As I turned the corner and headed up this avenue I heard my name called out. I looked up to see the girls sitting on the smallest veranda having a drink and sit.
After leaving the girls again I headed up an avenue and found some stairs leading up. I decided to follow them up. At the top there was a stunning view looking back at the city and the plaza from the hillsides. It was an amazing, and I could see the expanse of the city below.
By the time I got back down into the Plaza the sun started to set and the light got great for photographs.
After meeting back up with Bethany and Geneva at the guest house. We went out for dinner and a few drinks. As we were walking back to the main plaza I took some picks of the plaza close to our accommodation. The fountain and setting was magical at night. I really love long exposure night shots. They are easily my favorite type of photography. They way that the light seeps into the camera and the play of motion blur and rich color is everything I love about photographs.
In the morning we woke to find Bethany in really bad shape. Overnight she was shaking and had sever abdominal pains. We where scheduled to go on an Inca historical site tour early in the morning, and we had already paid, but we could tell that there was no way she was going to make it. After talking about it we all decided that the best idea would be to get Bethany to a clinic. She was steadfast that she could manage on her own, and she really wanted Geneva and I to go on the tour. We all walked down to the Plaza and saw Bethany off in a taxi.
Geneva and I grabbed a quick breakfast and headed to the tour company. After a bit of confusion, which we found to be standard, we where shuffled onto a bus and headed off towards the sacred valley and a day of Inca exploration.