Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Peru Trip Day 7

Sunday October 30, 2011

No wake-up call today. The morning is for us at leisure.
We are in Cusco (or Cuzco). This is what our itinerary says about the city:
The Inca Empire's former capital and the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city, Cuzco bears the marks of its mixed Spanish-Inca heritage. Colonial and modern buildings incorporate Inca walls, arches, and doorways; charming houses surround elegant squares; and Inca descendants speak Quechua, the indigenous tongue. Early today you are free to wander Cuzco's beautiful streets; and admire its crafts stalls (wonderful places to buy jewelry, blankets, and other handmade souvenirs).  

After breakfast we head out to explore by foot.

There was supposed to be a parade at 10 am in the main plaza (more or less just around the corner).

For a 360' video of the plaza  click here.

We sat on the steps in front of the cathedral. Things were going on.
And then a band arrived. Click here.

And then some dignitaries arrived. Click here.

A school also participated in the parade. Lady Teachers in business suits and high heels march by on the cobblestones high-stepping. But the school band was really cute. Click here.
When you watch the videos you can also see the vendors selling things to the spectators. We enjoyed the ice-cream-man wrapping the ends of the cones in toilet paper tissue.

Afterwards we did a little shopping.
At noon the group met again and we were divided to go to three different local host families for lunch. That, of course, was very interesting. Our 'father' spoke English quite well and so did his 18 year old daughter. The two took care of us and ate the meal with us.

First we had roasted guinea pig and cold cooked vegetables. We also had those giant corn on the cobs you can see in the photo.

Next we had a rice soup and then slices of beef with gravy and potatoes.
The dessert was really special to us: the purple corn pudding with a plum in the middle.

After the meal we sat a little on the sofas and our host introduced his family.
Eusebio (father), Rocio (mother), Pamela (18), Daniela (13), Fiorela (?), Ma Ximena (4 1/2) and Rodrigo (2 1/2). We did not meet Fiorela because she was in Sunday school. 

The little girl sang for us  click here.

All three lunch groups met again and we went sight seeing with a big bus.

We head to Sacsayhuaman, the most
impressive Inca ruins near Cuzco, whose ramparts are made of massive, precisely fitted boulders, some
33 feet high and weighing 360 tons (says our itinerary).

We are greeted by alpacas which have shorter necks then llamas.

It is impressive.

Can you see the (stone) snake in this picture?

(from the itinerary again) Later we embark on a city tour that introduces us to grand Plaza de Armas, the main square surrounded by arcades and lovely houses with ornate carved-wood balconies and terra cotta roofs. Presiding over the plaza is the 16th"-century Cathedral and its churches, boasting gold- and silver-plated altars; a 1958 silver-plated truck that carries statues in an annual procession; perhaps the finest carved-wood choir stalls in Peru; and famous paintings including "La Ultima Cena" ("The Last Supper") by Zapata.

The Plaza de Armas we did in the morning ourselves. In the churches we were unfortunately not allowed to take any photos, not even without flash.

We also visit the Church of Santo Domingo, built on
the foundations of Qoricancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun.

Not photography allowed again but I would have loved to spend more time there. Fernando explained so many things with such enthusiasm.  It was right next to our hotel but we had to make a dash since it was raining.

Dinner was on our own. We were not hungry and didn't want a big dinner but it was too early to stay in our hotel room. Sheila had recommended the MAP cafe (Museo de Arte Precolombino) so we were heading that way (in our rain coats). Lovely to walk the streets at night too.

We found the MAP and they had room for us too. The funny part was that it was in a court yard and when we arrived a waiter offered us a Pisco Sour. We didn't take it since we thought he was thinking that we were there with a group. May be we should have? It looked awfully tempting.

When we saw the menu all good intentions about only wanting a soup went out of the window.

It was a fixed price for a three course menu but we could choose what we wanted for each course.

I started with a heavenly soup of native mushrooms topped with a pastry.

James had a cream soup which was poured into the plate in front of him.

Then we both had a rack of lamb.

The dessert for James was "warm chocolate truffles
with a surprise eatable shot-glass".

I had the "lucuma kiss"

The Church of Santo Domingo next to our Hotel Libertador Cuzco.

1 comment:

  1. How lovely it is to be sitting here in COLD Virginia, sipping hot tea and touring Peru! Thank you for including all the food!