Cusco and Travel "Hazards"

Plaza De’Armas

So far, we’ve been pretty lucky in terms of travel annoyances. Nothing major has happened, a delayed flight (on a local airline-not surprising), and a few instances of language issues (taxis). But overall, not bad! Today, we woke up early to catch a flight to Cusco, once we arrived and booked our tickets for Machu Picchu we settled into our rooms. I was excited our room had a safe, so when we planned on going out, I tried to put the laptop in. It’s a miracle I’m currently writing from it. Defying physics, it made it into the safe, but could not be removed! We tried every angle, but it was stuck…after the concierge unsuccessfully attempted to get it out, he had the safe removed from the wall. Still, nothing. We were afraid we would have to saw it open in order to get it out! Luckily, after a few more attempts we were able to find the “perfect,” and apparently, only angle necessary.  I felt pretty ridiculous, I’m guessing that this had never happened before! But, I suppose if this is the worst thing that happens…thats not so bad!

Terra Andina, our Hotel on Calle Union

Cusco, so far is great!-For the most part. At 13,000 feet we are feeling the altitude a bit. A dull headache and slight loss of breath when walking up the streets from the central square, as well as general stomach “not-quite-right-ness.” We’ve been drinking coca tea, which is supposed to help with altitude sickness, increasing oxygen absorption. I do feel better here than I did at 13,000 feet on Kili last year, even with acclimation, so maybe it does help! It’s a fairly large city (population 500,000), but is actually quite small in terms of areas of interest. The Plaza De’Armas occupies the center, and streets with restaurants, hotels, and shops all start there. We’re on the west side, and can walk to San Blas (the arts district, and furthest east) in about ten minutes! Its a beautiful city, with winding alley ways, red terracotta roofs, and multi-colored houses lining the hills that rise around the city. Much more picturesque than Lima for sure! And, not to mention, the food! Ceviche isn’t great here (its not by the ocean-so not a surprise), but the Peruvian fare is great! Gaston (of La Mar), of course, has an outpost here-ChiCha. After a failed attempt to go to Ciccolina (chowhound raved), we “settled” for this. And it was incredible! We feel like we ought to indulge now before we head to CCS where the food isn’t exactly “World Class.” So far, we have yet to be disappointed. And are constantly surprised by the level of execution (and subtitles-like petit fours!)

Aji de gallena (back)-a chicken curry type dish with aji peppers and Lomo Saltado (right)-Beef and hot rocoto pepper served on tacutacu (a rice dish)

Off to Machu Picchu tomorrow!! The real reason we’re in Cusco!


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