To visit Ollantaytambo on Sunday, I had to buy the tourist ticket, which is a group ticket to many of the ruins and museums around Cusco. On one hand, this is a great deal, because it allows you to see sixteen sites for much less than you would pay if you bought individual tickets to each place. On the other hand, the ticket is only valid for ten days, which means that I have to see all of this stuff in the next week and a half. In an effort to get the most for my money, I spent this afternoon knocking out the museums on the ticket. I first went to the Museo de Sitio de Qoricancha, which is the museum under the site of the Temple of the Sun, which now has a church built on top of it. While the museum was nice, the church and temple (which I visited with Dad when he was here) were much more impressive, so I am including a picture of those instead.
I then went to the Museo de Arte Popular, which was rather unremarkable, and followed that museum with an attempted visit to the Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporaneo, which is unfortunately closed due to construction on the building and the facing plaza, as you can see above.
As you can tell, I wasn't having much luck...until I got to the Museo Historico Regional. This museum includes artifacts and art from the Cusco region, and does an excellent job of telling the military, political, and cultural history of the region. I think I appreciated this even more because I tagged along with a group that had a Spanish-speaking guide, which was not only good practice, but also informative. Plus, the building that houses this museum is really pretty, as you can see above.
My final stop of the day was the Choco Museum, which tells the history of the cacao bean and the production of chocolate. Chocolate production was first discovered by the Incas, and then brought to Europe by the Spanish in the late 1500s. The history goes on from there, and is actually quite interesting, but one of the most interesting things for me was the current consumption of chocolate around the world by percentage. Check out where the US stands!
In addition to a bit of a history lesson, we (friends from school and myself) had to sample some of the chocolate that the workers at the Choco Museum make. Hot chocolate, chocolate fondue, and truffles were on the menu, and they were all delectable. This was by far my most delicious museum stop of the day!