After six relaxing days, we left our beloved Ollantaytambo to continue our journey on the footsteps of the Incas: this time to the beautiful Cusco!
DICOVERING THE ANCIENT INCA CAPITAL
We took a collective taxi in Ollantaytambo and arrived one and a hafl hours later. We left our backpacks at our hotel and we started exploring the city that once was the capital of the Inca Empire. We went straight to the historical heart of the city, the Plaza de Armas. We discovered a beautiful and impressively well preserved colonial city, with imposing churches, red-tiled roofs and wooden balconies. Women dressed in the traditional Peruvian way and accompanied by baby lamas ask you for a little bit of money in exchange for a photo.
WALKING AROUND THE PLAZA DE ARMAS
Cusco’s colonial past is truly palpable on the plaza de Armas! The plaza is flanked by three massive churches, one of which was built on the site of an Inca temple! When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, they destroyed the Inca buildings and used the stones to build their churches!
We learnt that a terrible earthquake shaked Cusco in 1650. Most colonial buildings were destroyed but the Inca buildings remained intact! The colonial buildings were rebuilt a few years later.
We went to one of the little cafés of the plaza and from the upper floor balcony, we had an amazing view on the Plaza de Armas.
As we were looking for an Internet connexion to buy our plane tickets to Lima, we went to the Starbucks coffee shop and realized that we had the best view on the Plaza de Armas from there. I loved the wooden balconies that give a lovely touch to the city.
LUNCH AT LA PACHAPAPA
For lunch, we left the touristy plaza de Armas and went to the beautiful Blas plaza. All the buildings around the plaza had white walls and blue shutters. It is a beautiful area. We tried some delicious peruvian cuisine at a restaurant called “Pachapapa”. We were told by many people that peruvian food is delicious and it really is!
We started with two cocktails made of pisco, the traditional andean liquor. And then we had a delicious stuffed potatoe that we shared as a starter (we were in the region of potatoes and we were impressed by the great variety of potatoes that we could find!), a delicious piece of lamb served with mached potatoes and vegetables, a delicious piece of beef cooked in the traditional earth pot and served with potatoes and rice, an amazing chocolate cake.
ADMIRING BABY LAMAS
After lunch we continued our exploration of Cusco and met these adorable baby lamas!
WONDERING ONCE AGAIN: “HOW DID THEY DO IT?”
Some Inca buildings are still standing and once again we were fascianted by the perfectly fitted stones.
VISITING THE INCA MUSEUM
The Inka museum, located a few steps away from the Plaza de Armas, is a great place to learn more about the Inca culture. The beautiful colonial building which houses the museum is a worth a visit in itself. In the courtyard, women weavers demonstrate their craft and sell traditional textiles directly to the visitors of the museum.
ADMIRING CUSCO FROM SAN CRISTOBAL CHURCH
We then went up to the San Cristobal church from where we had an amazing view on the historical heart of Cusco.
STAYING IN A COLONIAL BUILDING: EL HOTEL TIERRA VIVA CUSCO CENTRO
We then returned to our cozy hotel located in a beautiful colonial building on calle Cruz Verde 390. We were reaching the end of our trip and wanted to indulge in comfort a little bit. When we saw a discount on booking for this lovely hotel we made the reservation right away.
It was beautifully decorated in a mix of colonial style and inca objects. The room was nicely decorated as well, we had a king size bed and an amazing bathroom. Coffee and tea were available 24/7 at the reception desk and we also had a good wifi connexion. We particularly enjoyed the inner court yard where we would sit to enjoy the lovely midday sun.