Drive to the Denver airport amid rush hour traffic. Fly to Fort Lauderdale. Shuttle to hotel. Stay in Florida for one night. Chill by pool for a few hours. Shuttle to airport. Fly to Lima. Sleep on uncomfortable airport seating overnight. Fly to Cusco. Taxi from airport to hotel.
The time it took for me to travel from my apartment in the Denver ‘burbs to the room in our adorable Cusco hotel: about 49 hours. But when we finally arrived in our cozy, Peruvian accommodations, all three of our weary souls agreed that the long and winding trek to our destination was well worth it. Before stripping off our well-traveled in clothes and taking a shorter little trip to slumberland (lol), we took a few moments to freak the eff out about the view from our room. It looked a little something like this:
We were staying in the Inkarri Hostal, a bed & breakfast just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas, aka the heart of the Cusco. While booking hotels in the months leading up to the trip, we discovered that things in Peru were cheap — but wondered if that meant that there would be a general lack of quality as well. Arriving at the Inkarri Hostal banished any doubts we had about being comfortable at night — the beds were glorious (but that sentiment may have been in part due to our extreme exhaustion), the breakfast was deliciosooo, the people working at the front desk were friendly & helpful to us ignorant little Americans, and the general atmosphere of the place was fresh and clean with lots of plants throughout the garden.
This picture just amuses me. #pals
After we rested up for a few hours in our seemingly luxurious beds, we set out to see what Cusco was all about. While our energy was back up to a functional level, we were then faced with dealing with an unavoidable dilemma: the altitude. Altitude sickness is a real thing! Especially in places like Cusco, which stands at an elevation of 11,150 feet above sea level. That. Is. High.
When affected by altitude sickness, some people feel nauseous, shaky, dizzy, and can have trouble breathing in the thinner air. Thankfully, I didn’t really feel any of those things — holla at having a month of living in Colorado under my belt! ALAS, Mollie & Julie didn’t get off so easy. As soon as we started walking to find some comida, they complained of “not being able to walk” and said they felt like they were “walking through molasses.” Honestly, I was pretty jealous. That sounds kind of funny, and I wished I could have felt the sensation of walking through molasses. What was this mysterious force that came over their legs and made them feel so weak?
Coca tea — tastes like shit & apparently cures altitude sickness. Mollie & I downed this stuff every chance we got.
After we found some food to fuel ourselves for a day of exploration in the Peruvian summer sun (hey Southern Hemisphere! February is a good time to be in Peru!), we strolled around the Plaza de Armas. It was very pretty and super rich with history, but Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site & is a major tourist destination, so after one lap around the main square, we had had enough of the locals harassing us in attempts to sell us little Peruvian souvenirs.
Gradual decline of the use of manners:
1: No, no thank you.
2: Look bro, just because I’m blonde and white doesn’t mean I can’t make decisions by myself — no need for bombardment, ya dig?
3: NO I DON’T WANT ONE OF YOUR FAKE STUPID PAINTINGS. BYE.
4: Avoid eye contact, ignore all pleas for attention.
Our time in Cusco was largely spent wandering the streets, admiring the architecture and distant mountains, avoiding men like the one pictured above, and eating. Highlights included trying pisco sours (Peru’s signature drink!), meandering through a large local market, and simply enjoying the sun.
Have you ever been to Cusco? Would you like to visit?
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