Our adventure to Machu Picchu began in Meriflore, it’s a city just out side of Lima. Merifloras has a similar feel and looks a lot like Santa Monica; minus the celebrities. We had to spend a couple of days here because the airline lost my bag. Luckily, it came the following afternoon. For a moment there, I thought Dan and I would be sharing a wardrobe 😉
Note: If you ever in Merifloras, there’s great sandwich place you have to try… It’s called La Lucha, and it’s amazing!
Now that I happily had my luggage, we were able to book our bus tickets to Cusco, our second leg of the trip. We booked our tickets through Cruz del Sur. It’s a luxury bus about $60 per person. The bus was quite comfortable but, I did find one thing strange. Right before we embarked, a bus representative walked through the aisle with a video camera. He taped each passenger and noted our seat number. It wasn’t until the next morning I realized why they did this. To put it simple, I think it’s to help identify bodies should the bus fall off the road. Once I saw the mudslides, the cliffs, the over flowing river, and the once two-lane road that now were barely one lane, it all made sense. The good news is you’re reading this, so you know I survived the road trip twice!
Tip 1: Trust me if you do this trip, get a luxury bus. You’ll want it for the 20 plus hour ride.
Tip 2: If possible, sit as far from the bathrooms as you can. (Mandy was right, they point blank tell you, “No #2 on the bus!” I think that rule was broken by the first person who used the bathroom… enough said!)
We arrived to Cusco on Saturday afternoon and stayed at the El Niño Hotel. (It’s awesome, make sure you click on the link to read their story.) I was glad we had a few days in Cusco because, I was really feeling the altitude and needed to adjust. Plus, we wanted to explore the Peruvian culture. I bet you could guess the first thing we did… Yup, we ate. We went on a hunt to find and eat cuy. It’s a delicacy in Peru, and not for those attached too their childhood classroom pet. That’s right, cuy is guinea pig! It wasn’t bad either. It kind of tastes like chicken. We also tried other traditional foods like beef hearts (pretty good), alpaca (also delicious), rocoto relleno (my favorite), and a few other traditional soups and potato dishes. If you’re a foodie, Peruvian food will not disappoint.
Note: Eat at Chi Cha
The following day, Dan and I went for a stroll through the market and found the city just buzzing with people. As we walked towards a coffee shop to relax, we began to hear music. Then, I spotted some people dancing so, Dan and I took off to capture it on video for my dance blog. We found an opening in the crowd and started taping. Then, I noticed there was another band and a group of dancers, then another, and another. Turns out it was a parade for Cusco’s Carnival! So there we stood wearing plastic ponchos, in the cold-poring rain, with my camera almost dead, and I was completely ecstatic! What topped the whole day off was when Dan and I were initiated into the whole carnival experience. The locals sprayed us with foam! It was quite a sight. Confetti was everywhere, people were soaked from the rain, covered in silly string and foam, and everyone was smiling. It’s a day I will never forget!
The story continues in the next post…