Take panoramic pictures!
This one is taken from the Corcancha site, right by the church. Here is how it works: You take pictures without moving too much, from left to right. Don't move the camera vertically, and after you taken picture#1, move to the right slightly so the right sided scene from Pic#1 is still in the frame for pic#2. Continue for 4 or 5 frames. Then you find a panorama making program and it will "stitch" the pictures together for you. Cool uh? The activities that were free were the most enjoyable, and also the ones that were not part of a guide book but self-discovered were the best.
An Unusual Way of Depicting the Trinity
One of the more fascinating subjects for me to read about is how Christianity has adapted to local indigenous customs wherever it has spread. While this started as early as the Romans (placing Christmas near Saturnalia and adopting many of its customs) it continued with the Spanish as they conquered Latin America. This blending is most obvious when one observes the painitings of the Cusco School, but it is also evident in more everyday art. A perfect example is this depiction of the trinity concept outside a church im Maras. Unlike traditional Catholic depiction, this shows three similar Christ-like figures. This is typical of the Cusco School and not an aberration. It was just the Inca's way of understanding what must have been a difficult concept to assimilate.
The Museo de Arte Religioso
The Museo de Arte Religioso is located in a beautiful colonial palace just two blocks to the east of the Plaza de Armes. It houses an impressive collection of religious art created by local artisans during Peru's colonial period. A visit to the museum will allow you see some fine paintings, goldleaf carvings, wonderful stainglass work and mosaics. The museum does not receive that many visitors regardless of the fact that entry is included on the Cusco Tourist Ticket. As visiting the museum will not only allow you see some of the best examples of colonial art that I saw in Peru but a good opportunity to tour superb colonial palace, I recommend that you check the museum out.
The museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 8-11:30am and 3-5:30pm.
Cusco to Ayachuco or Lima by Bus
We took buses from Cusco to Ayachuco (we flew from Ayachuco to Lima) in 2000, and it took several days over partially paved roads that were often only one lane wide. We were the only tourists on these buses and they were very nice (Mercedes). This is the territory that has spawned terrorist movements, so there were occasional security checkpoints where we gringos got special scrutiny.
If you are thinking about driving, I would leave the driving to the experts. Most of the driving is through the Andes and it is one hair pin turn after another. Each time the bus reached a turn on these one lane roads, it would sound its horn, and if it did not hear another horn, it would continue at full speed around the turn! There is a curtain that can be drawn by the bus driver so that the passengers can not see what is ahead and when things got exciting, the bus driver often shut the curtain so that the passengers would not get worried.
Maybe things have changed radically since I was there, but I doubt it.
I recommend this bus trip if you have lots of time.
The one and only real RISTORANTE ITALIANO in Cusco
Quiet ambience and soft music in a colonial house at Loreto street in Cusco, one of the full inca streets close to the main square.
Absolutely different from the common "pizzerias" that you can find in Cusco, hand-made spaghetti, pappardelli and tagliatelli, hand-made pizza (all the process), a lumber oven that you can visit, fine sauces, italian spices (unforgettable italian pepperonccino), and, of course, for the first time, I did find real and good italian food in cusco. Pizza Bianca, Carbonara, Putanesca, Ragú a la Bolognesa....they also have a very good peruvian olive oil from Arequipa, I can not tell you very much anout the dishes because I am bad to do it, but I remember the good and soft tastes, the good smells, a pleasant time. Good for a special moment.