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|Traveling without destination|
|Plaza Mayor of Cusco|
Cusco is a very mystical city. It is known for having been the capital of the Incan Empire, but its history goes much further back. Today it is still considered the center of the universe by many, since for some reason it is known as the “umbilical cord” of the world.
|Ladies and their llamas|
|In one of the allies in the city of Cusco|
When the Incas reached Cusco, there was an established settlement already in place, perhaps settled thousands of years before. Then came the Incas and “civilized” them and made it their capital. From Cusco, they governed the Empire of the Four Regions. This empire would control all the regions of the Andes from what is today part of Colombia to part of Chile and part of Argentina.
|Cathedral of Cusco|
The Incas ruled for about a thousand years, until Pizarro and his conquistadores reached Cusco. It was not a big army, but they were smart and arrogant. They took advantage that the Inca Empire was in the middle of a civil war, and the final result was that they executed the Inca emperor in the Plaza Mayor at the center of Cusco.
Enough of ancient history. When we arrived at Cusco the people at the hotel served us hot tea. According to them, it was coca leaves tea, the same leaves as are used to make the drug. Then they sent us to our rooms to rest for four hours. Later when we went to La Paz, Bolivia, the same procedure was followed. These precautions are taken to help the visitor adjust to the altitude. The tea does not have to be from the coca leaves. Once we knew what the content was, we requested regular tea and there was no problem getting it.
|Jesuits church in the center of Cusco|
Cusco is a colonial city built on the solid Inca foundations. There is more history in this city than in many countries in the world. There are many stores and vendors selling their crafts on the streets. At night, all the lights in town were on. Around the Plaza Mayor there were many restaurants and clubs. We did not stay too late, but it was still going strong as if were to last the whole night.
|Around the Plaza Mayor of Cusco|
Cusco by itself is a great site for those interested in the history of South America and the native cultures of the Andes. It is also a good place from where to reach other interesting locations such as Machu Picchu and the Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley). There are many hotels, of all prices, in Cusco. Each year more attractions are developed in the region to fulfill the tourism industry.
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