Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cusco with National Geographic Expert Peter Frost

We spent much of Monday and Tuesday discovering Cusco with National Geographic Expert Peter Frost. As the author of a guidebook called Exploring Cusco, Peter's knowledge about the city´s history is unmatched. On Monday we spent the morning seeing how the layers of Spanish and Inca history are interwoven in Qorikancha, a Spanish monastery built atop the remains of one of an elaborate and important Inca palace and sacred site. We also visited the Plaza de Armas and the city´s main Cathedral, home to a famous painting of the Last Supper by Cusco artist Marcos Zapata (1710-1773). The painting again illustrated the mixture of Spanish and indigenous traditions as it shows Christ and the Apostles about to dine on the local specialty - roasted guinea pig! After a relaxing afternoon we again met Peter in the evening for a presentation about post-colonial Peru.

On Tuesday morning we hiked up the hill behind our hostel with Peter to an archaeological site called Saqsaywaman. Famous for its massive Inca walls, the site was the location of a pivotal battle between the Spanish and the Inca during Manco Inca´s Rebellion. After a stroll through the hills above Cusco past a number of other Inca sites, we descended back into the city along the remains of an Inca road. The Archaeology and Ancient Culture On Assignment group had lunch with Peter and enjoyed the opportunity to have an informal chat with him.
We spent Wednesday resting and relaxing in preparation for a two day excursion to Machu Picchu. We look forward to updating you again when we return from our visit to one of the Modern Wonders of the World!

-Lindsay and Michael

The excerpt below was written by student Roy Varley:

Another night has been concluded with delicious food and lasting knowledge. Each member of our group is hands on seeing the tradition, unity and emotions of this unique country.

After watching a documentary about National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore I could tell that it affected everyone and gave us a lot to think about. I felt as if Joel´s attitude on life gave each of the students a reawakening about what this trip could mean to each of us. So my slogan for the day is ¨love what I´m living for.¨

-Roy Varley