Aerynn goes to Church! (Finally...)
Cusco Travel Blog› entry 5 of 10 › view all entries
October 10th, 2008 – by: aerynn
Waiting for dinner to arrive. I feel tired, like I should have taken a nap today. I want to go to bed very early. I don't mean to be a party pooper, but I usually don't try to cram so much into my trips. More rest. Well, tomorrow I will rest on the train, then maybe just rest in Aguas Calientes as well! I have the whole next day and part of the following day to hike at Machu Picchu.
We are at Aji restaurant, which in Spanish, sounds like Ahi, which is fish from where I live.
Today I went to church most of the day. Or rather, I went to churches. Three more. Plus one yesterday, which makes 4 churches in 1.5 days. Making up for lost time? This morning, we walked down to the train station to pick up our train tickets for tomorrow, and on the way we saw the back of what appeared to be a pretty amazing church. On our way back Alison was keen to check it out. I figured it was just another church, and we already have tickets to go to the Cusco Cathedral and the Iglesia de San Blas, but coincidentally, the place turned out to be my favourite.
The Church and Convent of Santo Domingo was built over the historical Qorikancha, which was the largest Temple of the Sun in the Pre-Columbian Incan Capital City.
This church is a must-see for Cusco, as it functions as a museum as well. The information available on the postings and kiosks in English, the beautiful courtyard, and of course the original Incan stone walls that are incorporated into its structure from Qorikancha combine into a perfect hands-on experience for a visitor anxious to learn a bit about the history of the area.
Strangely, there was a somewhat disturbing art exhibition upstairs that seemed strangely out of place, as well as a display of hand-made wooden furniture. The art sculptures were creepy, but the furniture was amazing! I wanted to take it all home.
Additionally on our way back, we stopped at a small restaurant for coffee and treats. I got one of the dulce de leche pastries seen in this lovely display case. Unfortunately, it was a meal eaten in paranoia--while we were waiting for the food, a man walked by and told us that we were guaranteed to get sick if we ate there. We decided he probably owned a restaurant down the street. Oh well. I survived my dulce de leche quite nicely!
Although we had already walked quite a lot, we decided to check out the Cusco Cathedral and the Iglesia de San Blas before dinner. The Cathedral is flanked on either side by smaller chapels, each of which is amazing on its own. Again, no photos allowed. We decided to take an audio tour. It was free with a deposit that they gave back at the end.
My favourite part of the tour was learning about the ways that Catholicism was woven into the local culture, including a Mass that is still delivered in Quechua, the local language. For some reason I also highly enjoyed going into the catacombs and wishing I could explore further beneath the Cathedral! There were some fairly high-ranked folks entombed under this place.
Although completely exhausted, we hiked up the hill several blocks to the Iglesia de San Blas. It was a bit more run-down, which somehow made it a bit more accessible and real. I think this may have been one of the first chapels built in Cusco by the settlers.
We took some time to enjoy a park with fountains, and some other novelties along the way. A bit of shopping, views, people, etc.
Again, sunset was amazing. And now, dinner.
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