Today we had an unexpected day off. Poor Claudia was not feeling up to teaching that day, so instead of having Friday off as planned, we had Tuesday off. So, not to be left sitting around, Sarah, and I planned to climb up to Sacsayhuaman. Drew also joined us on the short trek. Sacsayhuaman sits about 1 mile from the center of Cusco, so it's definitely walkable. BUT... the elevation rises as well. The two youngsters were very patient with me as I stopped to rest periodically on the way up.
The view from the top is spectacular. You can see Plaza de Armas which is the main square of Cusco and all of the various areas spread around it. Sacsayhuaman was an Incan religious complex with fortified exterior walls that helped to defend Cusco. The remnants of these walls boast huge stones that have been meticulously cut and fitted without the use of mortar. Much of the complex was ransacked by the Spanish to build the colonial buildings and the Cathedral of Cusco.
We spent quite a bit of time roaming around the grounds and were delighted to see a flock of alpaca grazing there as well. These creatures are very tame and we enjoyed getting close to them.
We also walked over to the "Cristo Blanco" or White Christ monument that sits on an adjacent hill overlooking Cusco. This is said to have been a parting gift to the City of Cusco from a group of Christian Palestinians who sought refuge here in 1945. It is an impressive sight!
Check out the pictures on Flickr! Sorry I haven't edited them too much yet....