Cusco and Machu Picchu


And so the saga continues.

Cusco was one of my absolute favorite cities. It’s very touristy, but I fell in love with the old churches and rolling green hills surrounding the Spanish style houses. There is so much to do in Cusco too; not just Machu Picchu. There is the Sacred Valley, horseback riding, and all kinds of adventures sports in addition to exploring the city.

First day in Cusco was spent meandering the churches and the city as a whole. All the the cathedrals were quite spectacular and had such an interesting history, combining local traditions with strong Spanish influence (to put it nicely).

I particularly liked the San Blas neighborhood, where we had a delicious aji de gallina lunch.

Speaking of Peruvian food, there was quite a slew of new foods I got to explore on this trip. Here’s a quick list for those interested:

Aji de gallina

Ceviche

Chicha (fermented corn drink, sometimes with other flavors like blackberry, or chicha de mora) 

Rocoto relleno, or stuffed spicy peppers

Guy or cuy (pronounced goo ey) (guinea pig)

Alpaca

Fried banana

Chupe de Quinoa

I plan on trying to make chupe de quinoa and rocoto relleno sometime soon.

Pictured below was a fabulous dinner out with ceviche, chupe de quinoa and alpaca! And of course, pisco sours.

Unfortunately, this dinner gave me food poisoning, but it was so good, it was almost worth it. Almost.

It definitely made the day of exploring ruins on horseback a bit uncomfortable.

Finally, we set out for Machu Picchu, and it was everything I wanted and more. After a difficult, hour long hike up steep, stone steps  in the morning in Aguas Calientes, we finally made it to the ancient Incan city. It was absolutely magical, surrounded in mist. Definitely a big highlight.

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