Maybe it was my gangly lankiness, maybe it was growing up without an ocean in sight, but the waves and I did not become friends. I hesitate to even call us acquaintances. And even though my instructor Peluca was incredibly encouraging, the best I managed was about 3 seconds up on the board. Here’s how it looked… in my head…
The next morning I caught an early flight to Cusco, a city which quickly turned out to be my favorite for the entire trip. Nestled in the Andes at an altitude of 11,200 feet, Cusco is home to around 350,000 people although approximately 2,000,000 tourists travel through every year. Delicious food, beautiful architecture, friendly people, clean streets, and every type of outdoor activity imaginable make Cusco and incredibly popular destination in Peru.
The day hike started with me asking Eduardo at the front desk of my hostel how to get up to Cristo Blanco (a giant statue of Jesus overlooking the city). Eduardo responded in Spanish, “The walker must create his own trail, not let the trail create his walk.” To which I responded, “……. Right. Thanks?” And, in an attempt to follow Eduardo’s seemingly wise advice, I set off in the direction of the statue.
The walk took me around an hour, and through multiple backyards as I “created my own trail,” but eventually I made it the top, and was it ever worth it!
He then offered me a small piece of quartz from his pocket, saying the stone would help protect me. I asked him if there was something around that I needed protection from. He replied, “you never know.”
At this point I decided it might be in my best interest find a new spot to rest, away from this quartz-wielding stranger. I gave him a tip for his “advice” and was quickly on my way.
Sacsayhuaman is a ruin of an Incan military fortress and it’s a perfect example of Incan architectural skills. It was made of gigantic carved limestone boulders (some weighing more than 300 tons each) that were fit together perfectly without any mortar.
My final highlight from Cusco was the Christmas market, which I guess should actually be called the “Christmas-eve market,” but Peruvians traditionally celebrate Christmas a day early, so… yeah.
On the day of the market the main plaza was packed with vendors of all types selling everything from nativity scenes to alpaca jumpsuits. It was an amazing site and one I’m incredibly thankful I got to experience.
I’d also like to give a huge shout out to my cousins Kristen and Katelin who just launched their own business, Ship & Dip! If you’re a fan of gourmet condiments (and who isn’t) you can sign up for their service in order to receive world-class condiments shipped straight to your door! Check it out! And thanks for reading! Until next time…