Day 13: Cusco

Cusco Parade

Cusco is a spectacular city. It sits at over 3,400 meters. Although many points in the city are higher than that. It’s a maze of narrow one-lane cobblestone streets. The churches and buildings are built in an old style and many sit on top of Inca structures. Several squares can be found in the city, with the biggest one being Plaza de Armas. It’s here that I spent most of my time in Cusco, eating, taking photos and enjoying a parade.

My morning started with a walk through the city. I tried to follow the Lonely Planet guide’s recommended route, but diverted a couple of times. The first time was because I got lost, the second time was because I was more curious about other streets.

This recommended walking route winds up at the top of the Cristo Blanco hill. Where, as the name would suggest, a giant white statue of Christ marks the summit. It’s a park where both tourists and locals can be found enjoying the view of Cusco from above.┬áThis hill is 3,600 meters. To give my friends back home a comparison, it’s higher than the highest mountain in the Lake Louise area.

Nearby there were several traditionally dressed women with alpacas and llamas. They pose for tourists in exchange for money. I don’t like posed photos, so I took some from a distance for free.

When I made my way back down, I found out there was a parade in the main square. It was a parade sponsored by the local police force. Police officers from across the province dressed up in traditional and sometimes unusual costumes and danced through the square to folk music. I watched until the parade finished then returned to my hotel for an afternoon snooze.

For dinner, I made my way back to the main square. Here there are several restaurants that offer balcony seating overlooking the plaza. I would highly recommend the restaurant in the south corner called Cava Mora. Unlike other restaurants nearby, the meat here was cooked to perfection. I got my steak exactly how I requested it and the grilled chicken dish I would order later was juicy and tender.

Tomorrow I make my way back to Lima.

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