Cusco Travel Blog

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How do I put into words the expressions, the scents, the tastes of Peru! It's not easy. I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively through Western Europe over the past seven years and even some prior. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, compares to my Peruvian experience ... the rich culture, the people, the coca tea, Machu Picchu in all its mystery, the Andean children with their deep brown almond-shaped eyes, the alpaca, the Mestizo and Quechuan women in their traditional dress, corn kernals the size of your thumbnail eaten off the cobb, the Pisac market, the food, the wine ... even difficulty breathing at 12,000 feet. I loved every second I could get my mind around.

My journey began at the airport in Los Angeles ... when after two connection delays my friend and I nearly missed our flight. Arrival in Lima was well into the night, however, in my excitement to just physically finally be in Latin America, I made my way to the hotel bar. There I met Cesar (with whom I still keep in touch), who proceeded to make me a pisco sour. Evidently, this bar made the best in Lima ... I still don't know exactly all that goes into it!

Departure out of Lima was early, in order to catch our flight into Cusco. Despite my having traveled on planes since I was 8 months old, I was not looking forward to this flight. I'd heard many variations of how the plane landed and how high up we were going to be. When it was all said and done ... it wasn't bad at all.

Making our way into la Plaza de Armas, I was astonished to see the unusual blend of ancient Incan construction, surrounded by Spanish Colonial structures, with a touch even still of Asian influence. The first part of the trip involved discovering the Sacred Valley in all its beauty. We hiked everyday ... we were out of breath every night. Thank goodness for the coca tea! Our meals consistently out did one another.

The days to follow included visits and/or hikes to Koricancha, Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, Chincheros, Pichincoto salt mines in Maras, Yucay, Ollantaytambo ... From there we were finally on our way to Aguas Calientes nestled in the valley below Machu Picchu. The train ride took us from rocky, somewhat desolate, dry terrain to lush, vivid, Amazonian vegetation - hummingbirds and orchids were abundant.

Our next three days were all spent admiring and soaking up the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. Interestingly enough, Hiram Bingham had actually been in search of another location of Manco Inca when he stumbled across what farmers in the valley below referred to as Big Mountain, Little Mountain ... or Machu Picchu. We concluded our Machu Picchu excursion with a hike to the Sun Gate where we found there to be even more incredible views of this mystical site.

Sad to leave these magical mountains, we returned to Lima for a quick peek at some of the city's art and architecture ... oxygen had never felt so great. Before we knew it, we were on our way back to States. With our heads full of images, sounds and scents of this beautiful country ... we knew we had just encountered a once in a lifetime trip.
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photo by: Vlindeke