This January, after many days saving pennies and overcoming my fear of injections, I took the best trip of my life, to Peru. My boyfriend comes from Lima, and we took advantage of our first long winter break to see all the things he's never made time to do before, like Machu Picchu. I've been dying to get my broken laptop back and blog about it!
After a quick stop in lima to check in with G's family, we took a tiny plane over the Andes to the highland city of Cusco. Even the flight was insane, spying tiny villages atop mountains and miles from roads and the rest of civilisation.
It was unlike anywhere I've ever been. Even the light was different: clear and harsh even from behind clouds. Women in layers of skirts led llamas along the steep, cobbled streets.The historic capital of the Inca empire, it nestles in a valley at almost 11,000 feet!
Naturally, we had a bit of altitude sickness when we landed, and did the worst thing possible by trying to nap it off! Tip: sleeping makes your breathing shallow, reducing the flow of oxygen to your brain even more. Lesson learned.
Wandering down to the Plaza de Armas (many Latin American cities' main squares were named this by the Spanish colonists), we caught sight of an amazing procession, the women singing and shaking their hips and the men dancing with whistles and bells around their ankles. We soon learned that processions of this kind seem to be a daily occurrence in the highlands (although not always including a terrifying monkey...)
It turned into a beautiful, clear Sunday afternoon so we caught a bus up to the Inca ruins of Saqsaywaman (in my head, 'sexy woman')to pet llamas and look down at the city.
We spent the rest of our day in museums and churches, chewing coca leaves for the altitude, and eating traditional aji de gallina (note: Peruvian food is among the best in the world and is sure to be the next big thing. The London restaurant Ceviche we visited last summer is really taking off!)
Cusco, te quiero.