Today I'm eager to share the continuation of my Peru Travel Diaries series with the colors of Cusco! While you may have seen my previous entries and read about how much I enjoyed Lima, Cusco was my favorite of the two. I loved the historic feel and colorful energy that surrounded the town.
At the Plaza de Armas
Our trip to Cusco was short- only three and a half days- and our main purpose for going was to see Machu Picchu and the Inti Raymi Festival of the Sun that only happens once a year. We had a packed schedule for our time in Cusco and literally hit the ground running as soon as we got off the plane from Lima. Below I have recapped some highlights from our short time in Cusco and my favorite aspects of the city, as well as some not-so-favorite aspects, like how to deal with the high altitude sickness.
Walking the historic town of Cusco was one of the highlights of my trip (along with the art scene in Lima!). Cusco's historic streets are filled with character, energy, and best of all- color. This is where you can find men and women in their traditional Andean clothing like handmade wool skirts and pants, carrying cloths, sandals made from recycled tires, and chullos (knitted hats with ear flaps). The colors and intricate handmade designs of the traditional skirts and dresses worn by the women and little girls was absolutely gorgeous and I admired each ensemble I saw. Even the Cusco flag is colorful! It is a rainbow that looks like our Pride flags!
My step-sister, Genie and I with women in traditional dress and baby alpacas
Color is everywhere you turn in Cusco. From the bright blue sky and white clouds as a backdrop to the beautiful city, to the cobblestone streets and the people walking them, to the textiles and handmade goods covering the inside of stores, there is certainly no shortage of color, or character, in Cusco. Since we didn't have much time in Cusco, I actually skipped one of the day-long tours to really get to walk around the city and people watch- a favorite past time of mine to do while traveling. I was glad I did this, as it was the day before the Inti Raymi Festival, and the main square- Plaza de Armas- was filled with parades and people dancing in their traditional regional clothing. It was an awesome and unique experience.
In Cusco, the people watching is amazing. The culture and dress is so different there, it is always humbling to see how others live and work in different places of the world. You'll see everything from women and children in traditional dress with their alpacas asking you to pay them for pictures; to neighborhood parties in the town square where the locals gather to mingle and cook dinner on portable grills; to women carrying their craft, harvest, or baby(!) on their backs in carrying cloths. The cultural aspects of Cusco were refreshing- we get so wrapped up in silly things as Americans and always want more and more, that its humbling to see people who live with what they have and make a living off their craft.