Sacsayhuamán and Cusco

Machu Picchu will blow your mind, and the Písac ruins will, too, as will, it turns out, the ruins at Sacsayhuamán (pronounced kind of like “Saxy Woman.” These ruins are situated where Cusco is now, and were the Incan capitol. The ancient city was laid out in the shape of a giant puma. It was sacked by the Spaniards, recaptured by the Inca, and sacked again. And by sacked, I mean sacked to the best of their colonial ability. Though the Spaniards had horses, they still couldn’t topple the massive stones of the Incan fortress. The city of Cusco was built on top of the ruins, which makes for a really fascinating display of historical architecture as you walk through the modern city streets—Colonial building coming right up out of the Incan stonework. The head of the puma is all that’s left of the original fortress, where the Trono del Inca (Inca’s Throne) and the Sun Temple were located. As you flip through the photos you’ll see the zigzag walls—these were the puma’s teeth. Yet another instance of minds being blown. Also mind-blowing is the size of the stones—some weigh as much as twenty tons, came from twenty miles away, and were moved without wheels or draft animals, and were cut, shaped and assembled without metal tools or a written language. Unbelievable! Yoga pic—photo by the boyfriend—for scale.

We took a colectívo from Písac to Sacsayhuamán and walked around the ruins before a downpour started, motivating us to walk down into the city, where we found a coffee shop and some art museums to warm up in. We wandered through the remarkable city streets to find a dinner spot before catching a ride back “home” to Písac, to helplessly contemplate the wonder of human ingenuity.