The city is also the gateway to Machu Picchu tourism. And we do mean TOURISM!!! Although a World Heritage site, retaining much of its colonial and even Inka architecture, the name of the game here is tourism, from all over the world. A city of around 400,000 people (3 times the number of 20 years ago), the main source of income for the entire place revolves around the over 2,000,000 tourists that visit each year. While the city certainly retains much of its visual charms, we find the constant barrage of vendors hawking trinkets, paintings, coca leaves, tours, etc., can be oppressive. How many times a day can you say "no, gracias"??? And, of course, if you want a photo of a local in native dress, it'll cost you. Although we certainly visited some touristic places in Ecuador, it was nothing like this.
|Casa Grande hosted a Brazilian bike touring group. Our room in the corner|
All in all, we like Cuzco. It has a terrific public market, with Quechua native people selling everything imaginable to eat or wear. Llama and alpaca are key critters for food, transportation, and wool in the Andes, and the market has lots of all categories. There´s a whole zone of the market dedicated to "INNARDS" according to the sign. They mean it. Stalls specializing in alpaca and llama lips were common. We gave 'em a miss. Maybe next time. The cuy (guinea pigs) are also popular, but the rascals are a bit pricey, compared to chicken and various other carnes.
|Tough to be a cable guy in this town!!!|
|Large stone in the middle has 12 corners|
|Kids are kids everywhere, and they don't charge to take a picture!!|
|Local weaver, working with alpaca wool.|
We'll spend the next four days trekking to Machu Picchu. Stay tuned!!!