A Walk To The Plaza De Armas In Cusco

I lived for two years in Cusco, halfway up the mountainside, in a neighborhood called Ucchullo Alto.

Each afternoon I could smell the refreshing scent of a woodburning stove. Mixed with the crisp air of the high-Andes, I can't think of a better combination. I would walk through that air from Uchullo to the main plaza.

It starts by making it through the dogs. There is no birth control for our canine friends in Cusco. Just 2 blocks past my apartment there was a group of them. Most of the time they just yawned and looked up at me with one eye open, but sometimes they needed to let me know who the bosses of Ucchullo Alto are.

Past the dogs you need to go up. You're already at 11.5K feet, so what's a few hundred feet more?

Incan ruins dot the city and dot this walk. I nod my head as I pass by.

At the top of the walk I take in the view of the ancient Incan capital city. It's still stunning. Perfectly placed in the heart of the Andes.

I start the descent into the plaza. I pass more Incan ruins. I nod again.

Soon the path goes from street to cobblestone and the walls narrow. I walk pass a llama, tethered to the ground, grazing, and enter the San Blas neighborhood.

This city is so photogenic. I take a photograph everytime I pass through.

I walk past bakeries, boutique hotels, homes, locals, tourists, it's a melting pot.

I arrive at the square of San Blas. In one corner is the church, with it's blue doors. The waterfall rests to the north of the chapel. Sometimes it's on, sometimes it's not.

I take a look at what's for sale today, looks like bracelets, jewelry, alpaca textiles, and food. Corn (choclo) with cheese. Smells good.

I keep descending. The streets are even more narrow. I can see the main cathedrals of Cusco holding the whole place together.

I carefully place my feet step by step, especially if it's raining, because one wrong step and.... well, let's just say that the only thing between you and the street is 6 inches. I've been grazed by cars before.

The foundations of the buildings become Incan stone. At the bottom of the road I can see the big, ballooned, swollen Incan stones, smoothed over the years. Hundreds of people crowd around to take photos. More locals sell more jewelry and textiles.

I walk through history, no big deal, I live here. Beautiful stones, precise and solid, line the streets. This city is still Incan, but where did they all go?

A few more blocks and I walk around the corner to towering cathedrals, a fountain, garden areas, colonial archways, and Cristo Blanco overlooking it all in approval. History happened here. Incas lived and were executed here. We're all here to soak it in and take photos.

Beautiful Cusco, thanks for the walks.



Jared Snow