After crossing the Border between Bolivia and Peru, Claire and I landed in Cusco. We immediately fell in love with the city's vibrant culture and palatable history. We made our home for 3 nights in the San Blass neighborhood. We spent the days exploring the city on foot while preparing for a high altitude climbing trip into the Andies and a trek to Machu Picchu.
Cusco was the cultural capital of the Inca Empire before falling to the Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro in the 1530s.
Today Cusco is the launching off point for most travelers who are venturing to/ from Machu Picchu. As we explored the city we discovered that the cultural contrast was everywhere; from traditionally dressed Peruvian woman selling Spanish olives at the market, to the mix of horses and Llamas at a parade we witnessed. In my eyes, the city represents the juxtaposition between the Inca and Spanish cultures. The Spaniards leveled Incan buildings and temples to make way for their own churches and temples. The Spaniards then reused the Inca foundations, making for a striking visual history lesson for anyone who takes the time to notice.
Despite or unwillingness to admit that we actually liked a city, Claire and I fell in love with Cusco. We valued being able to relax before venturing into the more remote regions of Peru. Despite being in one of South America's most well known cities, we found ways to get off the beaten path and too gain a deeper appreciation for the Peruvian culture..