I know everyone must be so tired of reading about Peru. But this is it! The last day! The last set of photos!
I wanted to make one comment about the train. There are two train companies running to Machu Picchu, Inca Rail and Peru Rail. We took Peru Rail to Aguas Calientes and the Inca Rail back. Both trains were impressive.
The next day, we walked around Cusco, shopping for souvenirs and visiting the rest of the museums on our Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket that allows entrance to multiple sites) that were within walking distances.
But first, we also caught a flag raising ceremony that is held every Sunday. The streets around Plaza de Armas were closed to cars for a few hours. It was nice walking without fear of being run over by crazy taxi drivers.
Afterward, we walked to San Blas, a cute art district in Cusco, to look for a Christmas ornament for me. I like to get a new ornament a year to represent some place special we visited. San Blas is located above the main plaza. It is about a 10 – 15 minute hike up narrow cobbled streets.
We had lunch at Pacha Papa, a relatively inexpensive restaurant that had good reviews. We ordered a bunch of appetizers and a couple of pizzas. I was skeptical trying pizza in Peru, but every other restaurant in Cusco had pizza so we got curious. The Pizza Margarita at Pacha Papa was to-die-for good. All the dishes were great but we all raved about the pizza. Soso was so proud of herself because she had chosen it. Also to-die-for item? The lime-ade. Peru has limes similar to Key limes and the lime-ade was delicious.
I loved how many museums and municipal buildings had an interior courtyard with a fountain. This concept of a courtyard, like the plaza de armas is mirrored in greater and lesser dwellings throughout Peru.
One of my favorite museum was The Center for Traditional Textile. The museum had displays of traditional Andean clothes made from hand-woven cloths. This is traditional wedding clothes for the bride and groom. Notice the intricate weave pattern? HAND WOVEN!
Andean weaving technique is passed from generation to generation by word of mouth. With modernization, weaving is quickly becoming a dying art. The Center tries to preserve weaving knowledge and technique by encouraging the older generation to teach their children and by creating a competitive market for the textiles. The women here are working on pieces that can take months to finish. The cloth that’s hanging on the back wall took 6 women 1 month to complete.
I wish I could have purchased a couple of pillow covers. They were so beautiful, but expensive at about $60 a piece. A traditional poncho, similar in size to what I wore in Marca, but with more intricate patterns was about 1500 soles or $500. While you can usually bargain at a market stall, this was not a place you could or even wanted to bargain. Those women literally worked their fingers to the bones and the artistry was worth every penny, if you could afford it.
We wanted to do something fun and special on our last night. We went to a restaurant with a dinner show of traditional dances. We were given flags to represent our various countries and we had the most with American, Korean, Peruvian, and Italian flags.
All in all, the food was good and the dances were entertaining. It was a relaxing end to what was at times a crazy and hectic trip.
We had a couple of hours before our flight the next day so we buzzed through a few more stores. I was still on the hunt for a stuffed llama for Soso. We saw these hats and had to try them on. D thinks I’m crazy, but now that I see this photo again, I wish we had purchased one for Soso. How adorable does she look?
I was sad to leave Peru despite all the crazy mishaps we had. I will never forget Soso and her great-grandmother just gazing at each other in amazement. I will never forget seeing where D’s mother was born. I will always remember the majestic Andes and looking up and down Machu Picchu in wonder. Most of all, I will always remember the taste of Peru. The one thing that failed to disappoint, ever, was the food. From grilled meats to simple salads to the amazing fruits, I will remember all of it to the last of my days. Good food always leaves an indelible mark on me.
Last lesson learned from this trip. We’ll never fly red-eye again. The end.