The Capital of the Inca Empire!!

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
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Trip End Jun 19, 2013


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Flag of Peru  , Cuzco Region,
Friday, April 5, 2013

Highlights
Cusco.
As we are back in the Andean mountains we decided to play it safe and take it easy for a few days to make sure Mark fully acclimatized. Hopefully he has as he's trekking the Inca trail as I write this.
Other than going to Pisac sunday market we just explored the colonial streets of cusco. This place has such beautiful architecture with its mix of original inca walls that hold up the well preserved spanish buildings. To visit any of the nearby sites and churches you have to buy a ticket for 30. It lasts for only 10 days so we are waiting until after Machu Picchu to visit all the ruins and museums. It was nice to relax but I've been in Cusco a week now and want a change of scenery. Im extremely excited to get the train tomorrow and finally see the new 7th wonder, Machu Picchu and see Mark of course. It has been strange not having him around for the past 3 days, we have spent the last 40 weeks together, it has been nice to spend some time alone but I prefer to be together.
Food wise we are waiting to have Cuy (hamster) until we visit the sacred valley but Mark has tried Alpaca Steak which was delicious as well as Ceviche. We didn't really like this raw fish dish. We definitely like our meat cooked!

Pisac Sunday Market.
We actually managed to leave early (8am) to take the local bus to a little village 35km from cusco called Pisac. Athough we wanted to explore the sacred valley after the inca trail we didnt want to miss this superb sunday market. Most tourists come here in the bus loads on guided tours to seek out their souvenirs. We decided it would be an awesome place to get great photographs of the local indigenous people. And we were not disappointed. The ladies were dressed in traditional velvet skirts with bright colorful stitching, white blouses, waistcoats and jumpers. And not to forget the 2 most import accessories; their incredible hats and their funky coloured blankets on their backs to carry either children or produce. We enjoyed strolling around the huge handicraft and clothing market, I was unbelievably tempted to spend all our money on alpaca socks, gloves, hats, ponchos and other cool items but I managed to resist.
Little girls fully kitted out in traditional dress carried lambs and puppies for an excellent photo opportunity, for a small fee of course. These cute little kids never miss a business opportunity and if caught taking a photo without payment you will be followed around the market until so.
We walked further a field and came to a bustling square filled with locals enjoying their sunday dinners consisting of chicken, rice and salad. There was also a live market on the other side where we saw women bartering for their chickens and pigs, such an awesome insight of daily life. As we got a little peckish we stopped off for a drink and chicken empanadas which were incredibly tasty. In the corner of my eye I noticed a little house of some sort, on closer inspection it was where the cafe kept there cute little guinea pigs. Well we all know their fate. After taking almost a billions photos we took the hour long journey, with once again spectacular views, back to cuzco.

Supermarket Festival.
My most favorite day in Cuzco was today as everyone gathered in the main plaza for a massive festival. It lasted 6 hours and according to a local I asked they were celebrating the anniversary of a supermarket. At first I thought my spanish was way off but no this huge carnival was for a supermarket. Everyone I came across was so happy and I posed for a few photos with locals all dressed to impress. As you can see in the photos (I'm gutted I only had my rubbish IPhone with me) the outfits have vibrant colours, some with sequins and some in traditional patchwork. Big bands would play whilst everyone performed along side the plaza. Some groups even told stories through their dancing, from picking a wife, getting married and funeral processions. After the festival I found Helene and Milou who I met at my hostel and we went for an Inca and hot stone massage. It was by far the best massage Ive ever had and it only cost 6, bargain!
I had such a great day, one of my happiest in Peru.
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