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My first day in Cusco

I booked my flight to Cusco very short time before – I had read and heard about the Inti Raymi Festival being there on the 24th of June. And so I packed my things together in Lima and headed off to the airport. The flight already was great: normally you see the earth far below you but this time the Andes reached so high in the sky that I felt flying not over but next to them.
I liked Cusco at first sight: colorful, busy but at the same time relaxed and surrounded by high mountains. On Plaza de Armas there were many people watching the various groups of dancers, in colorful costumes, dresses, with masquerades, even a very little girl of five was walking in the parade! I heard that it had been like this the whole week before – whole Cusco was celebrating and preparing for „el dia del Cusco“ and Inti Raymi on the 24th of June.
I read there were events the whole night in the city centre like the people were snging the hymn of Cusco at midnight – but I was not able to join them as I had problems with the huge altitude of Cusco and retired at my hostel.
On the next day, the day of Inti Raymi, I found my way down to Plaza de Armas. The rainbow flag of the city of Cusco was raised everywhere – as well as a general joy of the Cusquenos and their visitors due to my impression.
Plaza de Armas was surrounded by a crowd standing in rows trying to catch a glimpse on the scene of events in the middle of the place. If you wanted to see better you could buy a “banca” for seven soles from one of the women selling them in the middle of the crowds. But also without doing this, you could find a place with a good view on the scene: many groups of dancers, each dressed in an other color and style, standing and serving the Inka in the centre of the place. And all this scenery embedded in the city with its churches and mountains around it, accompanied by el sol and music.
Then, along with many other people of all ages, I started to climb the little streets leading to the mountains and the site of Sacsayhuaman where would be the heart of the ceremonies for Inti Raymi. The sun was burning and you could buy hats and everything you needed from the various sellers sitting along the streets.
Finally, after having climbed a steep path and crossed a huge dry plateau, you could see the tribunes in front of the ruins of the old inka site Sacsayhuaman. If you had bought a ticket for 100$, you could watch the ceremony from the tribunes, but most people searched themselves a spot on the mountain and hills opposite the ruins. I saw many families sitting in the shadow, eating their lunch and waiting for the ceremony to start.

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