Walking around the Museums

Cusco Travel Blog

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    Very enjoyable day today, and quite relaxing, just wandered around the streets of Cusco using our Boleto Turistico to go into various museums (after our 1 1/2 hour trip back from Ollantaytambo in a car with bald front tyres - thank goodness it wasn´t wet because the road is very windy and safe, careful driving is not a high priority here!).  This city is well set-up for walking around, as most things are fairly central, and if you are going to be here for a few days, the Boleto Turistico (S/70 for a 10 day validity) is a good investment because gets you into most of the Inca sites nearby and most of the museums and Pisaq in the Sacred Valley.  There was a small agricultural workers strike today, but it didn´t really affect things too much, they marched around the square in the rain - all in their colourful ponchos - chanting a few slogans and then wandered off.  Our day was not disrupted at all, and there were plenty of police around keeping an eye on things.
Our first stop was the Santa Catalina Museum, attached to the Santa Catalina Convent - even saw an elderly nun peeking out through the door in her quite traditional habit - Vatican II obviously didn´t stretch this far!  The museum has lots of Cusco School paintings although most are unattributed so probably not the best ones, also some lovely old carpets and religious items in gold and silver.  The nuns meeting room is covered in original frescoes in fantastic condition, probably because it is in a dark room with no windows and flash photograph is not allowed - well done nuns for looking after it all so well, most places painted over theirs and are now having to scrape back the covering layers.
After a bit of a break at the hotel, we headed over to the Museum of Contemporary Art, which seems to just be a few rooms in some council offices.  There were a few good paintings, and a display of some local Cusco artisans and their works, but there is not very much here at all.  If there is an entrace fee (we used the boleto), it´s probably not really worth a visit.  Across the Plaza Regocijo from the contemporary art museum is the Regional History Museum, found in the house of the Inca Garciloso de la Vega - the son of a Spanish captain and an Incan princess.  Born in 1539, the Inca is famous for writing two books about Incan history, which is otherwise a non-written culture.  The museum covers the history of the local Cusco area and even has a couple of pieces of a mammoth on display!  There´s lots of Incan pottery, plus gold and silver items, knife heads etc.  This museum is special for its terrific collection of Cusco School paintings, and gives a good explanation of its development and the more important artists.
After all this walking, our pins were getting a bit tired, so headed back to the hotel for a quick rest before meeting the other two non-trekkers for dinner.  Went to a little restaurant around the corner from our hotel - nice food but the Pisco Sour was the weakest one we´ve ever had!
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photo by: Vlindeke