10/01/13 - 10/05/13 ; 10/11/13 - 10/15/13 ; 10/21/13 - 10/25/13: Cusco, Peru
While in Peru, we spent many scattered days in Cusco: just prior to our Salkantay trek, before we left for Sacred Valley, and our final days leading up to departure. It's one of the most fascinating cities I've ever visited; culture and commerce immersed together in a landscape steeped in history. While walking around the center of Cusco, both Katie and I observed that it seems to be a city that thrives on tourism. You can't take five steps without seeing a storefront offering trips to Machu Picchu, tours of Sacred Valley, or a flight to the Peruvian Amazon. Restaurants, retail shops, spas and massage clinics - all of them depend on foreigners pouring in each and every day. Standing alongside the modern tourism trade are ancient stone walls and limestone churches. Cathedrals grace nearly every street corner and the roads date back to the time of the Incas. Cusco was the heart of the Inca empire and you see signs of their existence wherever you walk.
While in Cusco we visited ruins, toured churches, made chocolate, got our shoes fixed, and ate both Peruvian and western food with delight. It was a fabulous time and I hope we make it back to the city again someday.
It seems to me that, rather than piece together our experiences, it's best to tell our tales visually. Here is a summary of the time we spent in Cusco told in captioned photos with one of Katie's fantastic videos tying it all together. If this doesn't make you want to visit Cusco, nothing will.