DAY 4: THE IMPERIAL CITY OF CUZCO
We arrived at Cuzco the night before. We dropped our bags at the hotel and started to look for food. I don’t know what’s worst the fatigue or our hunger. Dinner was at a local restaurant a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas (City center). Cuzco celebrates Corpus Christi in June, festivities are about to begin. In the restaurant, I was offered the most traditional plate from Cuzco: Chiri Uchu. It is made up of cuy (guinea pig), chicken, sundried Alpaca meat, Andean cheese, a torreja (a corn flour omelet with green onions), seaweed and fish roe. It was lots to eat but I enjoyed it, I tasted everything that is traditionally eaten in Cuzco.
After dinner, we walked towards Plaza de Armas….an amazing surprise awaited for us. We entered Plaza de Armas on the cathedral’s left hand side. What a view!! My husband’s jaw dropped. The Cuzco cathedral and la compañia are both located at the city center. La compañia was built by Jesuits and it easily rivals the main cathedral’s beauty.
After we leave the church we noticed there’s some sort of parade going on in front of the cathedral. It’s a street show due to the Corpus Christi festivities. What an amazing surprise!! It was a totally free presentation with fireworks, full of color, fun, and it lasted for nearly 3 hours. We were freezing but we were not going anywhere. The background of this show was the illuminated hills of Cuzco.
While I was watching this presentation, I remembered a conversation I had with God some time ago, and I told him that he knew how much I wanted to visit Peru, particularly Machu Picchu but if it wasn’t his will that somehow I was going to accept it. And here we were, at not better time but his time. You know what they say? God’s time is perfect! Indeed it is, we just have to learn to be patient.
THE BELLY BUTTON OF THE WORLD
QOSQO (Its name in Quechua) was the capital of the Incan empire, they considered it the belly button of the world and up to now the Peruvians refer to Cuzco as the “imperial city”. Cuzco is 11,152′ above sea level. It’s really cold at night plus oxygen is in short supply all the time. I went up stairs and I couldn’t breathe anymore, it’s like I’ve been doing some extreme cardio, so we had to be careful and take it slowly.
The Corpus Christi festivities continued. There was another parade about to start in Plaza de Armas. It ended at around 1pm. We had lunch in the balcony of a restaurant. A pisco sour along with a superb view of the Plaza de Armas couldn’t have made a better Sunday afternoon. A beautiful rainbow is the official flag of Cuzco since 1920.
We shopped around and visited the museum of popular art. The lack of oxygen is suffocating but this is a once in a life time experience. Cuzco is such a beautiful city, its colonial baroque architecture is impressive.