Journal -- Day 4

June 25th 


We start our day with a move to a different hotel, this one in a former monastery. A beautiful place, restored but with the central courtyard and chapel in place. The rooms are arranged around the central courtyard, some down short hallways and around corners. The corridors, once open-air, are now glassed-in, but the garden and fountain remain a focal point. The hotel art is a bit too topical, with hundreds of paintings of saints and martyrs on every available surface. Gregorian chants play at low volume throughout the public spaces, echoing quietly to create a spiritual calm.

Now that the festival is (nominally) over, we have a chance to visit the city museums and the plazas. Many of the portable remains of the Inca culture are here, close to their origins but not at the sites themselves. When we visit the cities in person, we can picture these bits of pottery and jewelry in place. There is little left from the Inca culture, perhaps not surprisingly given the thoroughness with which the conquistadors looted the cities and temples. Nonetheless, there are few clues to this huge and diverse empire to be found aside from mute stone and half-remembered customs, some no doubt from the peoples who lived here prior to the rise of the Inca. A sobering thought as we pack and prepare for our travels through the Sacred Valley.

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