Right after coming back to Cusco from our long hike to Machu Picchu, we made our way to some more rural and less visited areas of Peru. The first stop was Ayacucho. After a complicated night bus ride, we arrived in the city, where only a few decades ago domestic terrorism was part of everyday life. What we immediately realized: we were the only white people there. And that didn’t go unnoticed by the locals. Coming from Cusco where it felt like indigenous people were a rarity, Ayacucho was quite a change. We spent three relaxing days in the city, recovering from our exhausting hike. We ate some good food, walked around streets with colonial architecture and to be honest, enjoyed the good WIFI in our hostel. The city wasn’t all too special, and obviously (loads of brick houses) poorer than Cusco. So, it was a perfect opportunity for us to relax.
However, on the last day we wanted to see some of the traces the Incas had left around this area. We joined a day tour to one of the most important temples of the Inca times and some interesting stops around it. Early in the morning we met our group on the main square. To our surprise, we were the only non-Peruvians. The rest of the tourists were without exception from Lima. Quite a change to all the other places we visited. After a few hours of driving in the bus, we stopped for breakfast. We shopped around for a good breakfast soup (yep, that’s a thing!) and decided to eat at a place that offered food for workers and passerby’s. A bunch of young girls were running around there too, but they immediately stopped and watched us as we approached the “restaurant”. We ended up talking to the girls and they asked us about everything and wanted us to teach them English, or German, or anything. The youngest girl, if I recall it correctly her name was Amy, asked us which planet we come from. So cute! They were also fascinated by my camera and made videos and pictures with it. I would have loved to spend more time talking and playing with the girls and teaching them some more phrases in English.
But our trip continued to our first stop: palms.
Then continuing to the bath temple of the Inca, where he also used to have a wife and children. There were some interesting objects like a sundial and forms of flamingos or llamas carved into walls. And of course, the views were impressive! No wonder the Inca liked this place.
The last and main attraction was the temple at Vilcashuaman which consisted of two separate parts, one where the Inca would sit, the other one being a place to sacrifice to the Gods. Controversially, the Spaniards (or newly converted Christians) built a church right on top of the Sacrificial temple.
To everybody that considers stopping in Ayacucho, I cannot recommend it enough. The people are a little distant but really nice if you talk to them, and there is definitely much more that Ayacucho has to offer, especially north of the city, where there are the ruins of the Wari. We especially liked this stop on our route because it was a pure and raw experience. No people persistently trying to sell you stuff on the street, simply no tourism in the annoying way. I can assure you will have a relaxing time away from the masses but still surrounded by history and some of the nicest locals.