So just as promised, I’ll be telling my adventures from Peru! Warning: it’s gonna be long!! But it’ll be filled with lots of pictures hopefully. ENJOY!!! 🙂 Actually, I’m gonna do separate posts for Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca. I realized there was just too much to say for each… We’re starting with Cusco!
From Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon (04/11-04/12, we flew from Quito, Ecuador to Guayaquil, Ecuador, to Lima, Peru to Cusco, Peru. Why did we have 2 layovers? Because the cheapest flights are usually the most inconvenient flights and ours cost just $286 instead of a direct flight of almost $600. Anyway, we got a good deal and actually had some time in Guayaquil to explore the city. Some highlights of our night in Guayaquil: I got a porkchop dinner for $3.00 and free fried bananas (patacones) with cheese, we went to a lighthouse and got a really sweet view of the city, I climbed up over 400 steps to get to said lighthouse and felt really accomplished afterwards, and our hostess at the bar was wearing a jumpsuit with extreme padding in the rear (we could tell because it was sagging…).
^ Dinner! Katie and Alice enjoying the bananas and hot sauce (it was actually spicy! Most “hot” sauces in Ecuador are pretty weak)!
As soon as we got to Cusco, we were like “yo, let’s get to the hostal to nap.” I’m not sure if you could have guessed, but we ended up just dropping our stuff off and grabbing lunch. It was “BBQ day” or something at the hostal so they were serving a BBQ buffet for only like $8 USD. It was GLORIOUS. This was probably one of my favorite meals during my entire study abroad experience.
^ BBQ BBQ BBQ. And some American styled salads as well! It was so good that I almost cried eating it…
Then we went exploring in the main plaza. We Also by exploring, I meant we found cute shops and bought a lot of artisanal goods like alpaca sweaters. We went back to the hostal that night to sleep, but didn’t get much of it because it’s a super social hostal… that is, we slept in a 14-bed dorm room and people came in at all hours of the night turning the light on and off and yelling. Yeah, it was not pleasant, which is why we ended up staying at another hostal for the remainder of our time in Cusco. Anyway, the next day, Sunday (04.13), we woke up early for mass at this huge, gorgeous cathedral in the Plaza de Armas. We just wanted to see what Palm Sunday would be like in another country and it was quite the experience. Granted, 1) I’ve never been to a Catholic mass, 2) it was Palm Sunday, so it was packed, and 3) the mass was conducted in Spanish, so I didn’t comprehend all of it…
^ The cathedral we went to. See those swarms of people? There were also people outside selling “ramas” or bouquet-like creations in the form of crosses and/or crowns made from palm leaves and flowers.
We ended up spending the rest of the day travelling to different indigenous communities near Cusco. One of the travel agency workers at the hostal actually lived in one of these communities and offered to show us Cusco “in a different light.” I was really excited because I didn’t feel like a normal tourist who was doing normal touristy things (i.e. adventure tourism or visiting ruins), and I got to learn about the traditional lifestyle.
^ A market in the little town. I ended up buying a lime and just eating it… hey, it only cost 10 cents!
^ This was at the center of the town plaza. It basically describes the arrival and battle between 4 Incan brothers who wanted to rule Cusco. I’ll tell you the story, but I’m afraid I don’t remember much of it… just that the 3 weaker brothers killed the strongest one, that one became a statue (jaja, ironic), and the other two became the rulers of the Incan Empire? Something like that.
We ended up picking corn from our guide’s farm, degraining it (not sure that this is called in English…), cooking it in an old school stove (like we used straw and fire to cook), and eating our food at a local football game that our guide played in. Overall it was a pretty legit day. Learned a lot, saw a lot, met cool people, and got ready for our trip to Machu Picchu!! HOLLA.