Horseriding trek in the hills above Cusco and exploring the ruins at Seqsay Waman
15.05.2010 - 16.05.2010 19 °C
Day 7 in Cusco - 15th May
Today was the first of our excursions around Cusco, a horse-riding trek around the mountains and a visit to a number of famous Inca ruins, including the religious site pronounced Seqsay waman - not ‘sexy woman‘ as we kept joking! The sun was shining in the morning as we were picked up by our tour bus, and taken up into the hills behind Cusco and the volunteer house, to the place where we would start the horse riding trek.
My horse, a beautiful brown bay, took it upon itself to lead our tour early, oblivious to my screams of whao and pulls on the reins. And so, I found myself ambling up a steep incline, with the rest of the tour group following me, as we started a 1 ½ hour trek through the breathtaking countryside above Cusco.
After the horse-riding, we visited the Inca ruins of Tambomachay, popularly know as El Baño del Inca or Bath of the Inca, a beautifully wrought ceremonial stone bath channelling crystal-clear spring water through fountains that still function today. The site was beautiful and we saw our first example of Inca walls - each stone had been individually polished to fit exactly next to the adjoining stones, all in excellent condition, especiall considering they are around 8,000 years old!
Next we visited the sites of Q’enqo and Pukapukara, before reaching the most spectacular site in Cusco, Saqsay woman. These ruins have both religious and military significance, Saqsay waman playing host to the colourful tourist spectacle of Inti Raymi, the sun festival held in June each year.
The site is composed of three different levels, relating to the three worlds - the lowest, the undreworld represented by the snake, and intelligence; the middle level, the earth represented by the puma; and the highest the heaven represented by the condor. All three are native creatures to Cusco. Apparently, it was the ninth inca, Pachacutec, who envisioned Cusco in the shape of a puma, with Saqsaywaman as the head and the 22 zigzagged walls as the teeth of the Puma!
We then visited the Cristo Blanco, or 'White Christ', a somewhat smaller version of the statue in Rio. Next to this tourist attraction were several locals selling crafts and a man playing a pipe and posing for photos in traditional clothes with his daughter and most photogenic llama.