The Streets of Cusco
My flight is closing in on Cusco Peru having left the bustling and historical city of Lima. The jungle and mountainous terrain below is mesmerizing and I am excited as to what adventures await and the people I will meet as I plan my daily shot list for my documentary “The Streets of Cusco”.
I am soon leaving the aircraft to be suddenly hit by a cool breeze and the tingling sensation all over my body as the blood adjusts quickly to the sudden higher altitude. Cusco has an elevation of 11,152 feet, so you are more than halfway to base camp Mount Everest with an altitude of 17,598 feet, just by being in Cusco. I am soon offered some natural cocoa leaves to prevent altitude sickness so the chewing vigorously begins.
Any adventure journey to Cusco, Peru requires a visit to one of the 7 wonders of the world, Machu Picchu the “Lost City of the Incas”.
My arrival coincides with the magnificent holy Easter festivities Cusco is famous for where the local community take the festivities to a whole new level of colour, sound and excitement. Hordes of dancing and musical groups making their way through the streets and into the main arena of the city square where the stoic Cathedral towers over its subjects.
With a population of approximately 500,000 inhabitants Cusco is home to the legend of the Inca and is now prominently of Spanish influence. Yes my Spanish can only improve over the next few weeks whilst I explore this wonderful place. Cusco is a strong Catholic community with 50 churches spotted all over the city constructed in a variety of size and with their own individual decor with the architectural magnificence of the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin also known as the Cusco Cathedral located on the Plaza de Armas which was built between 1560 and 1654.
The local people are very friendly, hardworking and enthusiastic as they go about their daily lives and greatly appreciate you when you attempt to speak a little Spanish. Shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels are scattered everywhere throughout the city and specialty shops dealing in fine silver jewellery and clothing stores, Lama wool a must have garment.
The many lane ways show evidence of the Inca culture with solid symmetrical heavy stone blocks perfectly positioned to the millimetre and aligned perfectly. Incredible structures built by hand with absolute precision. You can only imagine the discipline, creativity and energy of the Inca civilisation now long past.
My goal is to capture the real essence of the people of Cusco in the back streets as they go about their busy daily lives and discover spontaneously special places to experience during my stay. A red flag proudly stands fluttering outside a home on the outskirts of the city down a stony trail road, a signal that this abode is open for business selling their own home brew which is definitely worth investigating. It’s a taste worth savouring with a home cooked delicious meal and the locals love their local brew so yes a big thumbs up from me.
Any adventure journey to Cusco, Peru requires a visit to one of the 7 wonders of the world, Machu Picchu the “Lost City of the Incas”. Machu Picchu is an astounding construction achievement by the Inca people to protect them from invading enemies. It is a place captured in time and exposes a special aura of significance. The Inca civilisation so advanced within their culture and intelligence. The Peruvian people are a close resilient community very humble, hardworking and family is very important to them. They are very proud, always smiling and helpful. I was very fortunate enough to meet many amazing individuals on the streets of Cusco and on the local buses, trains, cafes and bars. It was an amazing experience visiting many other Inca sites and the remanence of a mysterious culture of long ago but it is the buzz of what is now that makes Cusco such a very special place and the community that embrace Cusco as their home.
I know that Peru will always be a special friend to me and that I now feel a part of the Peruvian family. I truly hope you enjoy The Streets of Cusco and it encourages you to make your own plans to visit this magical Kingdom in South America.
John Harvie Morris