Friday, September 16, 2016

Peru, Day 1: Land in Cusco

It's been a while since I did a good vacation blog series, so I'm going to do one for my recent trip to Peru. I'm writing all these posts in October, safely back at sea level!

We flew from Chicago to Lima on Thursday, September 15, but we just slept in a hotel and caught an early flight to Cusco the next day. We didn't have much in us, but we had fun exploring.

The first thing we did was head to the Plaza de Armas, where there are churches, businesses, and apparently a parade. We shuffled through the masses to take some pictures in the plaza, and we also did a tour of the Catedral

This is one of many sites on our trip that suggested the long, somewhat awkward relationship between the Incas and their subsequent invaders, the Spanish. To begin with, the church was built on a former Inca temple site. Many of its Catholic altars and other symbols are covered with gold and silver - possibly more spoils of the Incans? 

Finally, there is a painting of the last supper where Jesus and his disciples are dining on guinea pig (a Peruvian delicacy) and corn beer. Pretty amazing.

The air didn't feel as thin as I expected, but you definitely felt winded walking uphill for any length of time. 

For dinner, we visited the MAP CafĂ©, which is located in the Museo de Arte Precolombino. Of course, we explored the museum, too, and saw lots of native pottery, weapons, jewelry, and more. It was a really beautifully put together museum, housed in a former convent. 

The dinner lived up to this restaurant's reputation. I ate alpaca for the first time, and it was a good introduction to the cuisine. Hearty soups, lots of meat, lots of potatoes.

The winding streets of Cusco were filled with tourists and touristy shops, but that didn't stop me from buying a cute head band. I also loved this display of rainbow alpaca toys, but I don't think the photo came out very well.

Rainbows are the former Incan flag, by the way, and the city flag of Cusco, the former Incan capital. Apparently a lot of tourists have gone there and been surprised at how gay friendly the city is. (I have no idea whether it is gay friendly or not, but for the rainbow flags to represent a gay friendly atmosphere in Cusco, everyone would have to be gay.)

We watched some Peruvian TV before bed, but honestly, a lot of it was just repackaged American TV dubbed over in Spanish. We did actually get to watch some Latin America CNN on our layover the day before in Panama City, which was interesting. I love foreign TV.

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