Cuzco means “belly button” in Quechua, the language of the Inca, as it was considered the heart and center of Inca empire. From here the four regions of the empire spread through Ecuador and down to Mendoza, Argentina.
Upon our arrival to the city we passed by the massive monument to Pakuchatek, the forward-thinking Inca recognized for modernizing the empire. The next day, I got my first glimpse of the Incan wall- the best remaining example of Incan stonework. A wall that is one block long, in which there is not a single continuous straight line and absolutely no mortar. The wall dances and the stones, ranging in size from a loaf of bread to an oven, seem almost organic. We walked by this wall no less than 6 times during our two visits to Cuzco and each time I felt transported despite the kitsch that surrounds it.
Cuzco was alive during the month-long June fiestas. There were parades of folk dances along the Plaza de Armas each morning and on the weekend we were fortunate to catch the closing of the Corpus Christi ceremony.
Long after the saints had retaken the cathedral, the bands gatherned in the corners of plazas and revelers drank and danced into the night. I ate alpaca kebobs (anticuchos) and wandered the plazas recording the different bands.