on September 20, 2006
Like a smaller version of Rio’s Christ, the Redeemer, the Cristo Blanco (White Christ) looks out over Cusco from a nearby hilltop. If you are in town to acclimatise for the Inca Trail, then a trip up here is worth the couple of hours for a number of reasons. If you’re just in town for a visit, it’s the number one thing to see.Number one: the fantastic view, obviously. In the shadow of the statue you can stand a survey all of Cusco laid out before you. Maybe it’s even worth doing this when you first arrive; it will certainly give you an appreciation of the complexities of the city’s layout, and of how the main square dominates the plan.Number two: this altitude plus. Cusco is already some 11300 feet above sea level; you can add a good 500 feet more on top of that. If you are acclimatising, try and have a game of football with the local kids that play up there. Bet you can jog 10 yards max.Number three: there are some steps on the way up. Don’t cheat on this one and get a taxi. If you are heading out to Machu Picchu you are going to be doing some stairs and then some. Get in a bit of practice early—there’s around a thousand, possibly more—I lost count when I had to start really concentrating on breathing.Number four: did I mention the view?The steps start from the centre of Cusco and take you up through the residential areas high on the hillside till you break through to the hill proper. We picked them up from Choquechaca which is where our hotel was, but I am fairly sure that they run further down still into the heart of the town. At the top, around the Christ, you will find local families and children picnicking and playing (although we may have been there at the weekend). There are of course plenty of opportunities to have your picture taken with a llama too, or to buy a finger puppet.Anyway, any number of words I write won’t relate the majesty of the statue or the accompanying view. I hope you get a sense of it from the photos I’ve attached.
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