Peru – Cuzco, 04 June 2011

Day 2 of Cuzco, where we continue to try to acclimatize to the altitude.

Today, we tried to explore the city of Cuzco. My first impression of Cuzco, while standing at the Plaza de Armas, was how much it actually resembled Antigua, Guatemala. I guess it’s because both of them have Spanish influence, hence they have very similar layouts, whereby there is a square with a fountain, which is surrounded by religious buildings like churches? Anyway, yeah, there were a couple of churches around the Plaza de Armas, one of them being the Cathedral of Cuzco.

It was a culture day, so we went to a museum and a church. First, we went to the Museum of Inca Civilization. It was pretty ok, but does not offer too much, if you can’t understand any Spanish. They don’t have much in terms of artefacts, but mostly pictures of artefacts, alongside Spanish explanations. They only had English labels. You probably aren’t missing  much if you give it a miss, especially if you don’t read any Spanish.

Our next stop was the Cathedral of Cuzco. Apart from it being huge, the most interesting thing about the small differences between churches is their religious artwork. One of the more interesting pieces in the Cathedral of Cuzco is a painting of the Last Supper. What is of interest is, the dish in the middle is a cuy (guinea pig), which is a Peruvian cuisine. So, Peruvian artists had their own take of what was partaken at the Last Supper! Tropical fruits found in Peru were also depicted in other paintings, vis-a-vis the originals.

After our little culture tour, we were hungry. Being a very touristy place, pretty much everywhere was insanely expensive. Most of the restaurants in the town center did not seem to serve food for under 10 USD, and a lot of it seemed like backpacker food, e.g. pizzas and hamburgers. Sigh. Anyway, given our lame options, we got even lamer, and ended up eating at McDonalds, since it was the cheapest thing around (I know, I know, our bad). Anyway, on the bright side, McDonalds actually serves Inka Cola, Peru’s favourite cola, and they also have some very special Peruvian sauces to go with regular McD fare, which was actually very tasty.

To walk off our lunch, we started walking around the other squares that seemed to be north of the Plaza de Armas and south of Plaza de Armas, in a straight line. The trek uphill led us to a square with yet another church, and a handicraft market. B spent some time there shopping. Going south, we ended up in another square, which had a larger market, and was more like a proper mercado, selling food, and other stuff.

Tired, and altitude-sick, I decided to stop at Cafe Ayllu , a pretty neat-looking cafe that sells really excellent and decently-priced pastries. I had cocoa leaf tea, and a wonderful pastry, while B went off on more shopping.

I think one of those things I really like about Cuzco are some of those hole-in-the-wall finds. We really did not have much of an idea of what to get for dinner, so we decided to slowly walk back to our guesthouse, while keeping our eyes open for what might strike out fancy. We chanced upon a cute little pizzeria. When we popped our heads in, there was a chef rolling dough on the table, so immediately, we walked into Pizza Recoleta. We ended our nights with some lovely handmade pizzas (~8 usd for a big one) and I tried some Pisco Sour, Peru’s national alcohol to end our night early.

Big day ahead tomorrow!

From Plaza de Armas

Talk about Stereotypes

Mercado

Tasty pastry at Cafe Ayllu

Plaza de Armas at night

Inside Pizza Recoleta

Pisco Sour

Inca Kola

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Categories: Architecture, Food, Museums, Peru, UNESCO | Tags: | Leave a comment

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