Cusco is in the top three of my favourite cities ever. The plazas, buildings, restaurants and views cannot be beaten. We thought we would get fed up being in one place for 5 days but none of us were. The weather was perfect just sunny enough without being too hot. This did frustrate M&D as they had packed for cold weather and Dad's four thermal vests and 3 brand new fluffy socks didn't make an appearance out of the suitcase! We spent most of our time moseying around the shops, restaurants and enjoying relaxing in the plazas. Well until we got bombarded with pictures for sale, shoe shining (for trainers) and finger puppets. We did befriend a little girl; we named her scar face (not to her face!) and her and her friend always hunted us down trying to sell us some finger puppets but always stayed longer joking with us as we practised our Spanish, 'mucho gusto, machu picchu' was her favourite line.
As you would when spending a long time in one place we discovered a few little restaurant gems that became our eating grounds. The first place we chose was not to Dad's liking so after the excited owner sat us down we all walked out and went to the restaurant around the corner. This had good food but it wasn't that warm so we didn't end up going back. Baghdad café was a good coffee stop in the morning and had a great view over Plaza de Armas. One morning we watched as a school teacher fit 31 primary school children into a 14 person mini bus! (It is also where James and I are sitting as I write this entry of the blog, weather is miserable and I am still miserable after saying goodbye to M&D.)
Delimonasterio was a posh deli attached to a nice hotel. They had great sandwiches and we would often go in for a postre after a meal at another favourite, Jacks.
We came across a nice restaurant inside the courtyard of a hotel where we spoke to Nan and number 2 grandchild on face time. On our way back to the hotel we would sometimes stop at La Bondiet to have a drink, usually a coffee for M&D and a milkshake for James and I to share, they were delicious.
Our favourite evening meal was at Korma Sutra. We had been recommended this by a couple we met in Salta and it did not disappoint. The restaurant was a little out of the way but the food was worth the walk.
On our last night in Cusco we had moved to a different hotel and we were all exhausted from our trip to Machu Pichhu. We walked just a few steps down the steep hill and found a tiny pizzeria run by a man and his daughter. It was great pizza and a lovely local atmosphere, it was a shame we hadn't found this sooner!
Although food is one of my main priorities this wasn't all that Cusco had to offer. The windy, hilly streets with souvenirs on offer and beautiful buildings were great to walk around. The Plazas were great for people watching and always clean thanks to the 4ft street cleaners that were always working hard. In the 5 days that we were there the Plaza de Armas was a hive of activity. We saw weddings galore on the Saturday, including a wedding between a Peruvian lady and her Scottish husband. The Peruvian people made us laugh as they all wanted a picture with the Father as he was wearing a kilt!
One afternoon there seemed to be a parade of some kind about to start, we hung around the park for a few hours and it turned out to be the finishing line of a rally race. Health and safety is not Peru's strong point as the cars came speeding around the plaza with people ambling across the road, do not worry the police had whistles to control the traffic!
We also witnessed a mini parade around the Plaza, with the Mayor of the city and some other important people were watching. We thought it was a protest of some kind at first but decided it was a celebration of some of the workers. It was organised chaos as the different organisations took their turn in marching past the Mayor. It seemed like a great way to celebrate the hard work that they do until we found out from our guide in Machu Picchu that it happens every weekend, what a waste of time!
We went to the indoor market in the south part of the city and bought a few souvenirs, much to Mums delight as she has to try to fit them into her suitcase. We also found a lovely shop that sold painted ceramics, we had seen them in Jacks café, and Mum bought a few bits from here.
On a final note of all things wonderful in Cuzco were the puppies. It is a sight you see often in South America, nearly every other person has one and they are either walking beside them or are being carried. The funniest example we saw was a child of about 7 years old carrying a boxer puppy. The poor dog was gradually slipping out of her arms as she walked along, hoicking it up every now and again. We were laughing at her and the puppy, he didn't seem to mind at all!