Leaving South America is bitter sweet because I really have had some beautiful and happy moments here. Granted, I’m excited to be able to flush toilet paper again, for take-out and delivery again, and to not be looked at as a tourist again.
We stayed in Cusco, one of the highlights of Peru. Cusco is beautiful. It’s filled with so much preserved architecture and narrow cobbled streets. Every corner was an eye treat. Its landscapes are amazing. I lived in Pension Alemana, which I recommend to folks looking to stay in Cusco. It’s a quaint bed and breakfast and the staff is very attentive. The place is up the hill a bit and away from the crowds, but still just five-minute walk to the main square. Plus, there are spas, shops, and restaurants all around even before you get to the square.
I tried to get into the nightlife, but, like the rest of South America, it wasn’t really my scene. Clubs were full of very young people and clouded with cigarette smoke. Day drinking and playing billiards or darts was really a better use of fun time. Lol.
What was hard to deal with was the lack of oxygen. Walking up just one flight of stairs was a major choice because breathing was just that difficult. The only other annoying thing is that as you walk, people are CONSTANTLY trying to sell you things. Ma-sa-hey (massages), pictures, jewelry, and pictures with alpaca…it’s exhausting. I’ve never been anywhere where this is so constant and aggressive. So, oftentimes I'd find nooks and crannies to walk through to avoid the tourist trap streets (or what we lovingly termed “gringo alleys”).
While in Peru, I took a side-trip to Lima. Lima was so different from Cusco. It’s at sea-level so I could breathe. Lol. In terms lof look, it reminded me of Soho Palermo in Buenos Aires. It was fresher, higher-end, sleek than Cusco but I preferred Cusco’s warmth. While in Lima, I had the most fabulous hot stone ceviche that I can’t stop talking about. If you visit, check out Osaka.
I also took a side trip to Manchu Picchu. Manchu Picchu is one of the “new seven wonders of the world”. It was indeed a wonder climb and to see. Visiting of course isn’t all smiles and giggles, particularly when you learn about the Inkan history. One of the most upsetting things I learned is that part of Manchu Picchu was removed so that the King and Queen of Spain could use it as a helicopter landing pad (in the 1970s).
How disrespectful and unnecessarily so. Then, in the 2000s a beer commercial was shot there leaving some of the premises damaged. SMH. If you go to Peru, you have to go.
Okay, so I know and feel a little bad that I didn't give any details on Peru...mostly because I waited till 3 months later to write about. Lol. Things that stand out are that, I played poker for the first time at a casino in Lima and I road ATVs to the salt flats in Sacred Valley. By the time we were returning, it was dark so that was quite an adventure.
Lastly, there were lots of great places to eat in Cusco, but here are a few that I kept going back to.
- KusiKuy – known for the kuy but I had the trucha (with limon) and it was super delicious!!
- Kion for the seafood stirfry, wings, fried chicken, and more
- InkaZuela for the curry chicken stew
- Morena for the any of the entress (lomo saltado, seafood fried rice…)
- Juanitas for sandwiches
- Limbus for a great view and drinks
Other food/drink related fun:
- Pisco Museo, where you get the history of their local liquor before getting a flight of four (i.e., think and drink)
- Choco Museo, where you make your own chocolates
Click through the pics above and check us out riding ATV's in Peru (video courtesy of #JeffreyGaughan) below!