Ruins in the Sacred Valley (Kristine Kyllander)
On this morning we headed to the airport for the short (just over an hour) internal flight to Cusco. There were some amazing views of the Andes from the plane window and upon arrival in Cusco we were greeted by our AMAZING guide for the remainder of our trip, Teddy. He and our driver Orelleo took us to check in at our hotel and then we were off to enjoy an afternoon walking tour of Cusco which included the convent, La Catedral and Plaza de Armas. The convent was interesting because the Spanish had covered Inca structures that they could not destroy with stucco and this was only discovered during the last century when some of the stucco came down during an earthquake. The cathedral was impressive from the sheer amount of wealth that flows through it and ornate it's alters. Teddy is extremely knowledgeable about the merging of the native religions which worshiped the sun/moon/stars etc. and that of the Catholic faith brought over by the Spaniard's. Hearing the history and stories and how the converging faiths still impact the lives of Peruvian today while sitting in the cathedral was fascinating. For dinner, we used Trip Advisor to find a highly rated spot in close proximity to our hotel and ended up at Uchu, a Peruvian steakhouse. The meat (including the favorite, alpaca) was served on a sizzling hot stone and was totally delicious! As we were walking around, I definitely felt the altitude of Cusco and fought a mild headache most of the day. I did not take anything other than some Advil and was fine the rest of the trip.
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