Today, is the last day in Cusco. We slept in a bit and spent the day checking out museums on our city ticket. We saw many great pieces including mummies, mastodon bones, pottery, paintings and metal work. At some of the museums there were artists selling their paintings. At one museum they were even actively restoring artifacts.
After lunch, we walked up to San Blas, a big market on the hill.
On the way, we took photos with women dressed in traditional wear for $2 and saw the famous rock with 15 sides.
After resting at the hotel, we went to the Museo Inka in an old colonial home. There were beautiful textiles, pottery and colonial furniture, in addition to some mummies. The most amazing thing was the ladies weaving textiles on the terrace at the museum. The art is amazing but very delicate and time consuming.
In the evening, we went to a show at the cultural center. We were early and that was good, because there were a ton of school kids attending. We might not have gotten a seat. The show was great and the costumes were beautiful. The dancers performed several traditional dances, including one that represented the mating dance of a condor.
After the show we stopped for dinner.
With the trip winding down, I wanted to try one more traditional dish, guinea pig or cuy.
While eating guinea pig seemed a little wrong, since my sister had a guinea pig named Furrball as a child, I couldn’t leave Peru without trying the delicacy. It was good and of course tasted “like chicken”. However, there is so little meat on the tiny dish that it is a ton of work like eating crab legs. Overall, it was also kind of fatty.
After dinner we went back to the hotel, but first I got a hat. The lady wanted 35 Soles and I got her down to the change in my pocket – 6 Soles.
Plan some downtime : The journey to Machu Picchu, even if you don’t do the hike, is long and can start to be tiring. Having a little down time to sit back and take in the culture is a great way to balance out your trip.
Stay in the same hotel in Cusco : Most trips to Machu Picchu are going to go through Cusco both going and coming. If you stay at the same hotel both times, you are coming back to a familiar place and people. This helps you settle in after the journey. In addition, the hotels in Cusco will store your luggage for you while you go to Machu Picchu. As a result, if you pack wisely, you can leave half of your luggage in Cusco and have less to carry to Machu Picchu. For example, mom and I packed 2 piece of luggage and then consolidated into one piece when we left Cusco for Machu Picchu.
Don’t be afraid of the local cuisine : I 100% understand the fear of travelers diarrhea. I hardly ever drink the water or even brush my teeth with the water when abroad. However, anything that is cooked is fair game to me. In Peru, I tried guinea pig, alpaca (tastes like lean beef, similar to ostrich or bison), all sorts of potatoes and coca tea. All of these are native to the area and an experience that I am glad I had, even if it was just one time.