Monday, September 10, 2012

We Enter the Incan Capital

August 20, 2012

The city of Toronto's elevation ranges from 75m to 209m, depending on where you are. And, the CN Tower is a blip of 553m. Today, we've gone from basically sea level (in Lima) to the Andes, in Cusco at 3,399m. When I get off the plane, nothing is drastically different but I do notice myself huffing and puffing up the stairs when we were settling into our hotel (we were assigned a 4th floor room and they don't have elevators); maybe it's just the bags I'm toting.

The main objective to arriving early is so that we can take a day or so to acclimatize to the drastic change in elevation. We do little other than get the briefing of what's to come and, the opportunity to learn some more about the great Incan city of Cusco by our tour guide, Dimas. We stroll some of the streets on the way to the main Plaza de Armas to see some of the massive Incan built walls which have been incorporated into various buildings now.

The architectural prowess that they possessed is impressive: you see that the stones used to construct the walls did not require any mortar to be put together and each stone fit snugly against its neighbour.

This perfect fit was done with a purpose: to maintain its structural integrity through any tremors. And that is in fact true because of the fact that earthquakes are a common happenstance in the Andean regions and yet, these great walls are still standing. I'm totally excited for the Inca Trail now.

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