Our second full day in Cusco began with a bus ride to the San Sebastián neighborhood to see more parades related to the ending of the Corpus Christi Festival. Groups of elaborately and, without Victoria’s explanations, fairly inscrutably costumed performers danced down the street, followed by their own marching bands. Our tallest and blondest student was, much to her embarrassment, plucked from the crowd to dance along. Some of the paraders threw candy to the elementary school children lined up across the street. Victoria’s purchase of candies for our kids to give the children made us many new friends.
After saying goodbye to the now candy-laden children, we continued on to the ruins of Sacsayhuamán, the massive Inca citadel looming over Cusco. A sight of Incan resistance to the Spanish under the leader Manco Inca, it was eventually wrested from Incan control and many of its stones were used to build Spanish cathedrals and homes in Cusco. Still, it was an impressive sight, with unbelievably massive stones, both natural and shaped, and amazing views of the sprawling city beneath.
Dropping down from the heights of Sacsayhuamán, we then toured another of the massive cathedrals looming over the Plaza de Armas. A particular highlight was a painting of the last supper featuring native foods such as corn, potatoes, tropical fruits and, as the main course, guinea pig.
Victoria arranged for a group of teenagers connected to her and her family to meet the Pace group for a casual game of soccer. Given the complete lack of soccer skills or experience among our group, it was a relief to all when the two groups were mixed on each team. A half-hour or so of alternately fast-paced and … less fast-paced soccer followed as the ball flowed from the Cuzqueños to the Pace students. Afterwards, several of the locals joined us at a cafe for drinks and snacks. Through a mix of Spanish and English to the groups discussed school, and family, and hobbies and got to know each other better.