Cusco – Cuisine, Cerveza, Pisco & Pagentry
We recently enjoyed a couple days in Cusco, serving as a bookend to 5 days/4 nights of the Wayki Experience version of the Inca Trail (more on that soon-ish) … Wish we could have spent more time there as there is a LOT to do, and stuff you don’t want to do while resting tired legs.
So we arrived on Thursday night and shortly after checking in to our hotel wandered off in search of dinner… and wandered into some 500+ Peruvians (Cusqueños?) engaging in a rehearsal of the upcoming Inti Raymi Festival (Festival of the Sun). We’d miss it, being somewhere off in the mountains, but was great to witness all the hard work and people involved in the prep work.
The following day we had but an hour or so to check the city out and explore while gathering last second supplies for our impending Machu Picchu trek. Got to enjoy more prep for the celebration we’d end up missing. So if you plan on doing the Inca Trail in mid-June, be sure to check your calendar and see if you can adjust your start and/or end date to accommodate the Inti Raymi Festivities.
After our return, we had more time (a whopping two days) to see the city… and with a far less restricted diet. (I allowed myself to indulge in cervezas once we finished the trail) And we had a chance to check out more of the city itself, including the intriguing Qorikancha, the former Inca Sun Temple that was converted into a church – Santo Domingo. Only to have the ‘every 300 year’ earthquakes of 1650 and 1950 knock down a bunch of Spanish construction, revealing the still sound Incan Lego work.
After taking in Colombia’s 1-0 vanquishing of Senegal in the final match of World Cup Group play to win their group and advance, celebrating with some Colombians at the table next to me, we visited Sacsayhuaman. Sacsayhuaman served as an event venue for the Inca, as well as a sort of college/training ground for aspiring architects.
Followed it all up with a fantastic final dinner (second best pasta sauce I’ve had, behind only our last night in Rome almost a decade prior) and a more-than-healthy sampling of local craft cervezas.
We had a great time and both lament not tacking on a day or two on both the start and end of our time in Cusco, as we still felt there was a heck of a lot to do/explore/see/EAT. Guess we’ll have to come back. Shucks.