I was excited about Peru, not just because of the impeding trip to Machu Picchu, but also for the food. Travellers we had met going in the opposite direction, had said how good the food was there.
We arrived in Cusco around 5pm having planned for two nights here. We had the luxury of a “free” day here, which meant no early get up or travelling!
After checking into our hostel, The Grasshopper (booking.com), we headed out up to the main square for dinner.
It was definitely the most touristy place we had visited, and we were hounded almost instantly to buy tours, meals and massages. It was however also a pretty place with medeterrrian style narrow streets, balconies and buildings in the older historical areas of San Blas and Plaza de Sanfrancisco. Cuzco is in fact a Unesco world heritage site.
After evading one touter who was trying to get us into his restaurant, we came across Andes Grill, a Peruvian restaurant. The place was really busy with locals, always a good sign! We opted for a trout ceviche and a Alpaca Lomo Saltado, which is a Peruvian stir fry, with tomatoes, onions and spices, served in a bed of rice & fries. Both dishes were delicious. I’ve eaten Ceviche before, in the Cayman Islands with Lionfish, and that was tasty. Ceviche also works really well with Trout.
The next day we strolled around the city, popping in and out of numerous market shops to purchase souvenirs. They were all pretty similar selling llama wool clothes, leather bags & random nic nacs.
After lunch we visited the Inca museum which was fascinating. There were hundreds of ancient relics, pottery, tapestry and jewellery on display.
Even though Cuzco was a few hundred metres lower than La Paz, at 3,390m above sea level, it was pretty high and we could still feel the effects, mainly shortness of breath and tiredness. Machu Picchu is somewhat lower (2,400m above sea level), so we were hopeful that our symptoms would improve by the time we started our hike at around a mere 1,500m above sea level.
We were starting to get excited for our trip to Machu Picchu the following morning. That evening we ate in another local place however we were surprisingly disappointed in our food, I guess we had been lucky with our choices up to then. One of the dishes we tried was the Papa La Huancainia (boiled potatoes in a creamy Chilli sauce), that had been recommended to us by a fellow traveller. The sauce was bland, sweet with not even a hint of chilli.
It was an early night for us that night…….just one more sleep until our hike!!!