My Peruvian brother Antony is studying to become a tour guide, along with studying English and working, too. He offered to be my guide for some of the sites around the city.
I'm lucky to have my own guide, as opposed to using an agency. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not go visit some ruins with the Lincoln, Nebraska chapter of the Burt Reynolds fan club.
We went to various ruins around Cusco, plus to some museums. My favorite of the trips was to Moray. We rented mountain bikes and rode about ten miles up to the ruins. The bike ride and the ruins were beautiful.
Scenery during the ride:
Antony explained to me that Moray's form represents the physical body of Pachamama, the Incan equivalent of Mother Earth (except they respected and revered her). We laid down and took a nap in Pachamama's womb, and were reborn as brothers of the earth. When we laid our heads down, there were a bunch of tourists in the ruins talking and laughing. When we arose, we were alone.
(Those are her boobs at the top left!)
Despite Moray's elevation, the Incans were able to grow crops here that normally would only grow thousands of feet lower. Using the terraces, they were able to trap heat and mimic growing conditions of lower altitudes.
The ride down from Moray was a blast:
...I know I look like a real extreme-sports maven in this shot. I should have had him take a picture of me on a rougher patch of the trail.
Another of my favorite trips was to Ollatatambo. Here, Antony reminded me that we have the ability to obtain energy from rocks and the earth. Ollatatambo has rocks the size of cars on a mountainside, that were believed to have originated accross a valley, on another mountain.
So the Incans removed the rocks from the mountainside, brought them down the mountain, got them across the river (!), and up the other mountain and in place. Wow. I honestly can't wrap my head around how they did some of this.
Huge, magically-transported rock:
View from the top of Ollatatambo:
Some other ruins we also visited: