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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cusco... A Little More In Depth

So I thought since I only had time to do a short blog about our amazing trip to Cusco, I would do another one with just a few more pictures.  I think I gave a decent amount of history and info in the last couple that I did, so this one will be mostly food and just things we found while wandering.  Enjoy!

The first couple are just some of our first pictures as we drove into Cusco.  It already seemed so much cleaner and quieter!

When we arrived at our hotel, the first thing we did was have some Coca tea.  Coca is actually the plant that is used to make cocaine, but in it's natural form it is harmless, delicious and apparently really good at helping with elevation sickness which came in handy when we were at almost 12000ft.  It is amazing how it affects people so differently.  Josh and I were fine, but got out of breath way quicker while walking, but we saw many people that were sick for days, and even a few that had to be given oxygen.

We went for a wander shortly after we got in.  I have since become obsessed with horse doors and alpacas.  haha

Most of the streets look like this... impossibly steep normally, but with the lack oxygen, they were deadly!

Oh did I mention how amazing the food in Cusco was??  This was the meal from our first night.  I had Chicharron (like pork crackling) my favorite Peruvian dish and Josh had Lomo Saltado, my second favorite Peruvian dish.

Our restaurant also had awesome entertainment!

On our way into our hotel we found this... too adorable right?

The view from the bar by our hotel.  Not bad hey?

The first lunch restaurant we tried was Fuego.  An American style BBQ restaurant.  The burgers were phenomenal!

Our first full day also included a city tour of all the major historic sites.  Our first one was the Cathedral of Santa Domingo.  Pictures were not allowed in here, but I managed to sneak some.  Shhh don't tell.

Our next stop was Coricancha, the Inkan Sun Temple.

The next stop was Saksaywaman.  A huge ruins just above Cusco.  An amazing view and some very cool history.

We next stop at was Tambomachay.  It is believed it was a spa for the ancient Inkan royalty.  It is also at the highest altitude we got to on our whole trip! 3765m!

Our next stop was hard to see because it was dark and crazy with people. It was the Qenqo ruins.  It is where the mummifications of Inkans were done.  Pretty cool.

Our last stop of the day was at a store that sells Alpaca sweaters, wool and other items.  It was really interesting learning about the natural dyes that they use for the amazing colors.  They also had some cool, really expensive statues.

It was a very long, exhausting day.  We headed up the hill for dinner at a place that came highly recommended, the Fallen Angel.  It was one of the most unique and beautiful restaurants I have ever been in.  And the food was again terrific.  It was my first time trying Alpaca and Josh had a steak.

The next day was crazy!  We had booked a spot on a ziplining tour.  By the way the website made it sound there were several options as to what we could do while we were there.  We chose the option of what we thought was driving to the top of the mountain and ziplining down.  But we were in for quite a surprise! We got there and were told we were doing something called a Via Ferrata, which means Iron Wall in Italian.  It is basically rebar sticking out of the shear face of the mountain that you climb up.  I honestly was not prepared at all, and was wearing jeans!  I was willing to give it a try, but I decided against it.  Josh decided he would try it and I would "hike up the mountain.  I started on my way with just a guide and my hike was not easy either!  I had to be tied off to cables most of my way up as well.  It was quite the work out!  When I got to the top I had about a 30 minute wait while Josh and Kieren (our new british friend) did the Via Ferrata.  When they got as high up as they were going, I got my own personal zipline over to them.  It was a bit scary, and different from our previous ziplining experiences.  We had to wear really thick gloves and break ourselves.  When I got to the guys they looked pretty impressed with me.  haha.  We continued down 4 more zip lines (I actually almost lost a finger when I got it stuck in the pulley. Scary).  When we got to the end, we were slightly confused.  We were still a couple hundred feet off the ground and had to repel down!  It was a first for Josh and I and Kieren's second time.  We were all pretty sure we were going to die.  It turned out to be not so bad, and a little fun!

 I cannot even tell you how sore my legs were for two days after that.  Honestly I have never been that sore.
For dinner that night, we headed to a huge Italian restaurant in Cusco.  It looked like a cathedral inside and the pasta was delish.  They also gave us flags from our home countries on the table.

As you may remember, Monday was our Machu Picchu day!  Fantastic!  I won't post many pics, but it was so incredible!

Tuesday was kind of a nice relaxing, wandering day.  Here are a few random pics from our last day :(

The Starbucks in Cusco was the first ever in Peru to spell my name right!  YAY!

And some delicious Causa for lunch!

Cusco was one of the most amazing trips we have ever had.  We both got even more of a hunger to learn the history, and a new respect for how amazing the Inkan people were!

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