Cusco is built of cobblestone streets and carved stone the Spanish stole from Inca temples. Its narrow roads are packed with honking cars and buses spewing exhaust, yet just a simple footfall from the roadway reveals an intertwined network of little shops and restaurants. As I wandered about the labyrinth of streets, I became intrigued by the doors that led to homes, alleys, courtyards and churches. Who comes and goes and keeps the key?
A two-hour colectivo bus ride from Cusco sits the little town of Ollantaytambo. Nestled into the valley along the Urubamba river, its hillsides were terraced by the Inca to grow crops of maíz and quinoa. Too narrow for cars, push carts, motos and the occasional donkey is used to transport goods to the central market. Quechua women from the surrounding hills come to sell their fruits and vegetables. In the nearby town of Pisac, alpaca is woven into intricate designs and offered for sale at the outdoor market.
Cusco and the surrounding towns are tourist centers replete with Starbucks, wifi and KFC. But if you take the time, you can still find the foundations on which these cities were built, down alleyways and behind doorways unknown.