Peru Pt IX: Chilling in Cusco

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Qorikancha, Cusco

We only had 1.5 days in Cusco and we spent the first afternoon doing admin stuff: finding our accommodation, getting our laundry done and figuring out our onward transport to Puno.

After settling down at our accommodation, we headed out with our dirty clothes. The place which our host Ruth told us to go to didn’t exist but luckily with Cusco being a tourist town, it wasn’t that difficult to locate a place to drop our dirty clothes.

Souvenir shop along Avenida del Sol – agreed to wash our laundry for 5 soles per kg

After the ordeal, we decided to reward ourselves with helado.

Amorino

First of the many ice-creams we had in South America (4.50 PEN)

After the ice-cream treat, we went around asking for information about our onward transportation to Puno. We couldn’t come to a decision and by the time we were done it was time for dinner.

Mural along Avenida del Sol

Dinner was at a Peruvian place located several blocks away from our accommodation. We ordered a set for two and the amount of food that arrived was enough to feed a family.

Polleria Rios Los Angeles

Super salty chicken

Peruvian Chinese dish – Arroz chaufa

The meal also came with fries, sausages and soup. We could barely finish half of the food served.

On our way back, Ying and I stopped by one of the many souvenir shops in Cusco.

Junk Souvenirs for sale

Junk Souvenirs for sale

The llama keychains caught Ying’s eyes and we managed to get 10 of them and a bird flute for 15 PEN. By the time we left Cusco, we would have many more llamas.

We had a late start the following day due to the chat with our host Paul. We didn’t get going until it was almost eleven and like the day before, we walked up Avenida del Sol.

Incan-inspired designs on road dividers

Incan-inspired designs on road dividers

There were many moneychangers on Avenida del Sol and by then we were running a bit low on our Peruvian soles. We got the best rate in Peru in Cusco – 276 PEN for 100 USD so our advice would be stock up on your soles before heading to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.

Some guy being interviewed outside Cusco’s city hall

Colourful mural in the background

We stopped by Plaza de Armas, centre of tourism in Cusco. There were plenty of tourists with the same idea as us.

Plaza de Armas

Fountain in the middle

Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus

Cusco Cathedral

We needed the bathroom and spotted the Starbucks on the plaza.

Starbucks

Coffee sacks

While sipping on our special lucuma drink, we surfed the net to research where we should have lunch. We shortlisted a few choices near the San Blas neighbourhood and made our way there after our finishing our drink.

Llama for photo

Climbing up the steep streets of Cusco

Hotel in San Blas

We ended up dining at the restaurant Marcelo Batata, a decision that we didn’t regret.

Marcelo Batata

Menu in English

We got served by a nice staff who spoke pretty good English. She brought us cassava chips and dips after getting our drinks orders.

Cassava chips, energy booster and Inka Cola

Awesome chips and salsa

Between the two of us we ordered a starter and a main. Avocado and shrimp cocktail was our choice of starter.

Fresh avocado and sweet mango tossed with pomegranate and passion fruit couli topped with grilled shrimp and served with a sweet and spicy tamarind sauce

The starter was absolutely awesome and we literally licked every drop of the sauce off the plate. Worth every soles (21 of them to be exact) paid.

The main was char-boiled alpaca tenderloin (43 soles).

8 ounces of char-broiled alpaca tenderloin in wild mushroom sauce, served with potato casserole, purple corn quinotto, onion strings caramelised with algarrobina

It was the first time that we were trying alpaca and it tasted like a cross between pork and beef.

Juicy alpaca steak

The sides were outstanding as well; Ying really loved the caramelised onions.

Funny sign in the toilet

It was a satisfying meal and the total bill came to a very reasonable 84 PEN (inclusive of a small tip for our excellent server).

We found ourselves back on the streets of Cusco, trying to walk off the calories.

Walking back

Awesome school bus

Shadow

Cobble-stoned

Wall

Trash can reminded me of minion

Fountain

When we were taking a rest near the fountain, the peddlers would approach us with their wares. Ying drove a hard bargain on the llama keychains and we got several more. However, before we finished the transaction, a police officer tried to shoo the peddlers. Quite pro-active of Peruvian authorities to improve the tourist experience in Cusco.

Bust

The cathedrals under glorious sunshine

We collected our washed laundry on our way back and retreated back to our accommodation before sunset.

Something funny:-

Ying really loves llamas

In fact she bought so many llama keychains that she could form something meaningful with them.

Peru

Could you count how many llamas were there?

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