The excitement was looming as we touched down in Cusco. The altitude and temperature were very different from what we were used to. The weather was a huge change from the humidity in Ohio and Chicago with a cool breeze that awakened our senses. The staff at the airport were very nice and helpful when we needed to call the hostel to get a ride into town. Eco Packer Hostel is amazing!! Could not rave about this place enough. They sent a car to the airport to pick us and our bags up, then drove us around on the streets of Cusco. The history and colors were breathtaking and we were so happy to be in the presence of such a rich culture. Upon arriving at the hostel, we checked in, and went up to our room. We chose the option of bunk beds with other people which was very cost efficient for us. This hostel also stored our larger bags in a closet downstairs to keep them safe when we took longer trips.
After settling in we decided to walk around the city. It was the afternoon and Peru was alive with dancing, parades, and so many interesting masks. This was a wonderful way to experience Cusco. The steps leading to the capitol building in the center of the city were filled with tourists and locals. Each person was either deep in conversation, trying to sell art prints, sketching original art themselves, or taking photographs of all the stimulation surrounding them. The men dancing in Gorilla Masks were the most intriguing to me. I also loved the women walking around with alpacas. The little baby alpacas were my favorite. The colors of the blankets the women wore to carry their children and their goods were vibrant and made the City Center come to life. Chris and I stepped into a new world on that day and were very happy to be there.
We walked around mapping out shops we wanted to revisit toward the end of our stay to bring home souvenirs for loved ones. We found an amazing gourd for ourselves to drink Matcha out of and decided to come back for it later. This gourd ended up becoming the most challenging thing to find again. I will write more about this in a later blog, it was an interesting experience. After the on level shops were explored, we decided to travel up a long hill to more shops. In a tiny alleyway, hidden away, we found an amazing watercolor artist. This wonderful person had shown his work in a New York gallery many years prior and we all tried to have a conversation about it, which was nice. We ended up coming back to his stand at the end of the week and buying one of his paintings. Later on, after all the uphill stores, we were getting quite sleepy and decided to go back to the hostel where we relaxed in the courtyard. Both of us ended up falling asleep with the sun high in the sky overhead and were wrapped in its blanket of warmth.
Have a meaningful Monday and thank you for reading!