My workday alarm rang at 5:15 am and instead of driving to work, I was standing on our room’s balcony to see the sunrise. That sunrise in Cusco was beautiful as it lit up the orange colored roof tiles into shades of golden yellow!
But I had to turn on my work laptop and “back to work”! I worked till around 8:30 and headed down for our delicious breakfast! Breakfast was held in the beautiful restaurant room next to the courtyard where you can sit outside, very relaxing!
Tons of varieties of both hot and cold breakfast items! Breakfast was free due to hubby’s platinum status 🙂
We sat inside but the table next to the windows with the view of the courtyard. There were freshly made juices in fruits that I love – mango and pineapple!
After breakfast, I went back to work until lunch time. I took a long lunch break to sneak out to explore Cusco in the perfect weather day. Look at how blue the sky was with puffy white clouds! I missed the blue sky after spending the day in Lima! Walking out of the hotel into the main street to Cusco flea market.
It was like a 10 minutes walk in very slow pace because of the high altitude we took everything slower than usual! Beautiful art on the wall:
A fountain that looked very different than other fountains:
The front side looks like this:
Across the street is the Cusco flea market:
Souvenir time! It has over 50 souvenir stands and we were very tactical on walking row by row to ensure we did not miss any one of them. But after checking out the stands on the first row, it seemed like they all sell the same items! I did bargained some wraps/scarves as souvenir gifts to coworker and friends – 30 sols for 2 so around $5 each which are typical flea market price for wraps/scarves. The first two rows we spent time looking from one store to another but then after that we just walk pass by with a glimpse since they sell the same items!
In less than 45 minutes we were done and headed back. We walked on the opposite side of the main street to check out the souvenir shops there. Cusco’s main road: Here, you can see some buildings in “under construction” state.
The street signs are very pretty and in style:
The view of the painting on the wall from the other side of the street:
When it was red light, we could smell the polluted air coming out of old cars’ exhaust pipes:
Our hotel is located on the back of Qorikancha as shown on this photo:
Qorikancha was the most important temple during the Inca Empire to worship the Sun God. When the Spanish conquered the city, they destroyed the temple and built Church of Santo Domingo on top of its base. We got back to our hotel and I continued to work. Hubby went out to buy me lunch, it was an adventure to him LOL!
The bell tower of Church of Santo Domingo from the hotel window:
Start of hubby’s adventure…he took the photo of the hotel courtyard, such a beautiful day too bad I had to work so couldn’t enjoy it as much!
Our beautiful hotel lobby:
Shops that hubby took photos of:
He walked into many courtyards to check them out:
And he finally found a restaurant that looked nice and have a photo menu that he could point to order (he doesn’t speak any Spanish at all). The most challenging part: ordering take outs! He told me that he used his hands and body language to get the waiter to understand that he is ordering the food to go hahaha thanks hun for your huge effort!
He ordered steak kabobs with delicious Peruvian fries. I continued to work until the afternoon!
Finally, I was off work and we went out to explore more of Cusco!
I really like the colonial architectures in Cusco, they are very beautiful!
We walked to Plaza de Armas, there is a Starbucks Coffee where we’ll be meaning with my friend tonight! After I posted that picture of me holding the Inka Cola, two of my friends asked if I am in Peru. I found out that one of my friend was born in Peru and living in Chile but was in Lima at that time LOL! And another friend heading to Cusco to hike the Inca Trail, we’ll meet up at 11,000 ft in Cusco haha!
Cusco cathedral during the day time:
Compania de Jesus during the day time:
I saw a person taking photos on the 2nd floor of the church! We went in and paid the small admission fee, it was like 10 Sols so only a few US dollars. Even though no photo allowed inside the church, it was an amazingly beautiful church to check it out. The design of the altars is very unique like a house covered with golds and windows sticking out filled with sculptures and paintings ; nothing like we have ever seen before! It is not huge nor grand as other famous cathedrals we had visited in Europe but it still gave us the “WOW” feeling! You can check out some photos in the website: http://rutadelbarrocoandino.com/la-ruta/la-compania-de-jesus/?lang=en
The stairways to the 2nd floor is very narrow and steep:
I was out of breathe with one flight of stairs due to high altitude but it was so worth it! The view of Plaza de Armas from the 2nd floor window:
After the church, we walked few back streets to explore the wonderful colonial buildings:
Very unique balcony:
We made our way to Hatunrumiyoc, the street with the famous 12 Angled Stone. Near the famous stone, we saw a guy dressed as Inca king and I get my 1 Sol coin ready to take a photo with him; he put the headpiece on my head LOL!
The famous 12 angled stone:
After hubby took the photo, I heard locals screaming at me…I found out – don’t touch the stone ahhhh!!!! The 12 angled stone as its name indicated exactly have 12 corners and they fit perfectly into those stones around it. It’s still a mystery on how Incans back in the days were able to move those huge stones to build the ruins including Machu Picchu and how they were able to cut the stones so they can fit perfectly together!!! The stones are so tight together that you can’t even slip a piece of paper into it! The structures that the Incans built are still standing today after a few major earthquakes!
I love the “small cobblestone” style villages/towns/cities; much more interesting and characters than modernized cities!
There are so many souvenir shops in Cusco!!!
You walk into a building and there are more souvenir shops inside, any open space you can find will have souvenir shops!
Like this one:
Ta-da, if you are a flea market person, you’ll love Cusco!
We walked all the four roads intersecting the plaza to check it out!
The other end of a street, an entrance gate…hum wondered if there’s any significance of the gate?
And a school…or is that a college?
We found Chinese restaurants!
Another Chinese restaurant:
More shops…endless shops..that my eyes were tired!
Those colored mini balconies are so cute in Saphi Street:
Back to the fountain at the plaza. It’s nice during day time but much more beautiful at night in my opinion 🙂 What do you think?
The entrance of Cusco Cathedral actually on the side, I checked out the admission fee it was like 30 Sols which is $10 USD and no photos allowed so urg we didn’t think it was worth the money to go in….unless you like paintings as there is a famous painting – The Last Supper by Zapata in the Cathedral.
Well then photos of its exterior:
We sat there and you have no idea how many times I said “no gracias” to locals who kept coming by to try to sell us souvenirs!
It was still early to meet up with my friend so we went into Starbucks to look for “Cusco” gift card; my cousin collects Starbucks gift card from famous cities (we got one from London during our last trip). But they don’t have any gift cards at all! I also checked out the ones in Lima and no sight of gift cards too!
We finally met up with my friend Ben who was traveling with his friend to hike the Inca Trail. We had dinner at Uchu Peruvian Steakhouse at Calle Palacio 135. I made advanced reservations as I heard it could be packed! We were the first ones arrived in the restaurant haha. We sat in a separate room that has nice decors:
Our table for 4 of us:
Their burchettas were unbelievable good!
This one tasted like Chinese roasted pork sauce haha!
I ordered the steak, their specialty is you cook your meat on your hot stone! It was our first time having stone cooked steak, it was such a fun experience! The salad was fresh and delicious with avocados and for the side, I picked the hot chili. Yummy!
The dinner for 4 of us came to be 360 sols tip included and they only take cash….although the waiter said their card machine is broken. He lied since I read many reviews beforehand that they take cash only!!! The courtyard of the restaurant:
After dinner, we walked back to our hotel, Church of Santo Domingo at night taken right from our hotel entrance:
We had a nice chit chat with my friend and showed them our beautiful hotel and room! From our room balcony, they could see their hotel haha. It was a Tuesday and on Thursday, my husband and I will be taking the train and then bus up to Machu Picchu while they start their Inca Trail – will arrive Machu Picchu 4 days later on Sunday. I applauded for their motivation and physical fitness to do the 4 days hike at high altitude; one flight of stairs left me breathless! And also no shower for 4 days…….I can’t do that! I’ll have to take the “short cut” up 🙂 Speaking of that, I can’t wait to write about our Machu Picchu experience! Stay tuned for the trip report and please subscribe to my blog for the latest photos and trip reports!!!