Peru. Part 1- Cusco!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I can't believe it has almost been over a week since we've been back from Peru! The time has flown by and I think I'm ready to go on another adventure already! Where to next? India, Brazil, Australia, Egypt, Greece... Oops, okay, back to what happened in Peru:

A view from the plane! I was just talking to my sister about how much we love flying and the weird sensation of being in-between places that you get while flying. You are really not anywhere in particular, which is a rather freeing thought that somehow helps me think. Also you are stuck and not as distracted as when you are in your daily routine. You literally can't get off the plane and you are stuck with watching the lame in flight movie or reading the book or magazines you brought, so thinking and/or talking to the person you are with is inevitable. I don't think I am explaining this well.... Anyway, nothing else like it. Is it just us, or does anyone else feel this way?

Arriving in Cusco! Fresh, clean and full of excitement!

Upon arriving at our hotel, Ninos Hotel (which was fabulous. Great cause- they are a non-profit that gives kids in Cusco a meal and a place to go everyday.), we were greeted with coca tea (yes, as in cocaine, but apart from Michael not being able to sleep one night from too much of it, we were fine). Oh, and it's not the same thing as the drug. Just a stimulant that helps with altitude sickness. It tasted kind of like it looks. Hot water and leaves. Pretty much... 

A view of the courtyard of the hotel, where we they served breakfast. I love courtyards! They had a little restaurant which also makes the food for the kids everyday. Their food was very delicious and I could go on and on about their carrot pumpkin soup. Delicious! One of the best things I ate the whole trip. 

Our hotel room! Yoni (named after one of the kids adopted by the owner). So mid-century. It was not overly-hotely (you know what I'm talking about?), which I liked. Just spare, modern, utilitarian, clean. Perfect! 

Cusco had the best doors! I became mildly obsessed by photographing them. This is just one example... There are more to come! Aren't you excited?! Doors! 

Plaza de Armas. Cool fountain, and the main square in old town Cusco.

Old Incan door! (Sorry for the plethora above average use of exclamation points. But come on... Incan! Old! Door! Can you tell I'm excited about this place?!)

Me and the door! (Obvi.)

Old Incan walls were everywhere. It was crazy. Around the corner from this little alley that is, oh, probably 500 years old was a Starbucks. Crazy.

Another Colonial era door.

A potato dish that was delicious. Did you know that the potato is native to Peru and was brought to Europe and the rest of the world after the Spanish invaded? They have over 2,000 types of potatoes, and from the many potatoes that I had while I was there, I'm going to bet that they are all delicious. 

Alpaca Steak (and potato on the side!). This looks maybe not as appetizing as it was... Alpaca is great. Kind of a cross between steak and lamb, and very healthy as it has no cholesterol. And apparently it is becoming more popular in the US, so if you see it here, try it! So good.

This was at a lovely and very important Incan religious site that of course the Spanish then turned into a church. The temple of the sun, Qorikancha (which means "Golden Temple"), was pillaged and torn down and built over to create Santo Domingo. A gorgeous Colonial church/monastery which has some amazingly awesome Incan architecture underneath. The Spanish were rather awful about the whole conquering and invading thing (um, probably an understatement!). I read The Last Days of the Incas while we wer there and it was fascinating. If you want an in-depth history of Peruvian/Spanish history, read it. 

A ceiling at Santo Domingo. 

View of Cusco from Santo Domingo. Oh Cusco... I want to go back already! 

The bell tower in the scrolly-Cusco-Colonial style. They also had a great little museum of paintings (where photos were strictly forbidden) of the Cusco school. Loved it.
Now we go to Sacsawaman (pronounced "sexy woman". Ha!) Very cool Incan ruins perched above the city of Cusco. Such a huge complex of ruins that are very impressive and offer great views. If you are in Cusco, go! The walk up there was quite a challenge, or so I thought at the time! After our trek, this was but a tiny little hike that took maybe an hour. Oh, how innocent I was!

Georgeousness. I could show you 100+ more pics that I took here. It was cool.

Sunset over Cusco. This was our main day in Cusco exploring, then the following day we left for our trek. Whoa nelly. That's up next! More trip photos to come!

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