I’m so excited to share the incredible experience Sean and I had travelling around South America this August. He’d been working in Chile and Argentina for a couple of years now, and it was the first time I’d flown nearly 40 hours each way to see him. It’s always been a dream to experience Latin America! It had always struck me as a place with so much diversity, colour, warmth and fascinating cultures. We visited Peru, Ecuador and Brazil over three weeks. And I’ll be sharing about all that in the coming posts.
But first, let’s start in Peru.
Plaza de Armas
Sitting at an elevation of 3,400m, Cusco (or Cuzco) is arguably the historical crown jewel of Peru. It was once the capital of the ancient Inca civilisation and is known today for its mind-boggling archaeological ruins and traditional Spanish architecture.
Lima felt a lot more like the financial heart of Peru (more on that in another post!), but I thought it was Cusco that revealed its true soul.
From children with colourful wide-brimmed hats playing in the narrow cobblestone alleys of Plaza de Armas, to old shophouses spruced up with merry flags dancing in the wind. Cusco felt like it was awash in a constant buzz of activity.
We ran into a traffic-stopping strike of hundreds of teachers armed with huge hastily painted banners and megaphones, and tour agencies and souvenir shop owners touting in halting English to passing tourists. I loved everything about it. It had a kind of life I’ve never quite experienced in any other city.
A seamless blend of the crumbling ancient and the spanking new, cool winds frolicked with the warm sun, the impatient swearing drivers of rumbling vehicles stalled alongside passersby taking life languid and slow. The people had fire in their bellies, but yet were always laid back and polite.
Following the advice of many locals, Sean decided to take the plunge and try Peru’s most iconic dish – Cuy (pronounced kwee). Yes, Peruvians love their guinea pigs. I’m generally game to try anything. But this I couldn’t stomach because I actually have a pet guinea pig at home and it was just impossible to do it without feeling like I let him down.