Qoricancha, Mercado Central, and San Blas
Cusco Travel Blog› entry 2 of 12 › view all entries
August 11th, 2009 – by: Linqueen
We then returned to the Cusco Market to make some souvenir purchases. Jason and I walked away with a beautiful chess set that pits the Incas against the Spaniards, a decorative totem poll, and a wooden Inca mask to hang on our wall.
After returning to our room to organize our belongings for the Inca Trail hike, we departed to the frenzied Mercado Central, which sells an array of food products, including fruit, vegetables, meat, rice, and many more edible items. Cleanliness does not seem to be a major concern in the open-air market since flies hover above the food, a rancid stench suffocates the air, and too many hands can be seen fingering the food! If you are an adventurous type, and perhaps don't mind risking food poisoning, you can even eat ridiculously cheap meals at the stalls. Since we had just enjoyed a scrumptious lunch at the Inka Grill, we chose to pass on this!
Once in our room again, we resumed organizing and packing the supplies that we could carry and the porters would carry for us.
At around four twenty in the afternoon, we headed back down to the Plaza de Armas and on to the Barrio de San Blas, which is perhaps Cusco's most picturesque neighborhood. We climbed up the narrow, steep, cobblestone alleys lined with artists' studios and artisans' workshops, and we enjoyed spectacular panoramic views of the city below. Atop the hill stands the small, white Iglesia de San Blas. Spread out in front of the church are various merchants who have their numerous trinkets on display atop blankets spread on the ground. There was also an adorable Andean girl walking around the plaza with an alpaca, an animal that can be commonly seen throughout Peru (even on the menus).
To relieve our tired feet and legs after traipsing around the hilly San Blas barrio, we enjoyed an authentic Andean dinner (although we steered clear of the guinea pigs) at a popular quinta called Pachapapa. The restaurant offered a beautiful setting with an attractive courtyard, potted plants, whitewashed wall, and a wood-fired oven that filled the evening air with the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread.
Following dinner, we headed back to the Plaza de Armas, which seems to emit a golden glow once the sun has set. Besides the monumental structures being softly lit, the lights from the homes on the surrounding hill and mountains sparkle like stars in the night sky. It is an amazing sight. We then trudged back up the steep hill to Piccola Locanda, and we are now planning to take showers (since it will be our last for a few days) and get to bed early so that the buzzing noise of our alarm clock at four fifty in the morning won't be incredibly brutal. Machu Picchu, here we come!!
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