Cuzco, Peru (Update from Jack)
This city is incredible. Emil and I have been here for about a week now and have already had a chance to see much of this beautiful city. Known for being the capitol of the Incan Empire and its Spanish colonial architecture, Cuzco is a city full of rich culture and history.
We’re here through a cultural program called Maximo-Nivel. In the mornings we volunteer at a construction site, helping to build a clinic. In the afternoons we have been taking Spanish classes.
Below is the beautiful view from our construction site. Since May volunteers have been working on an addition to a children’s medical clinic. This week we worked on making a temporary roof, to be a staging area in order to make concrete. The safety procedures aren’t exactly the same in Peru…but we have climbing gear.
We’re staying at a volunteer house in the neighborhood of Belenpampa. So far we have been accompanied by 4 other amazing volunteers. Yuri, a local, along with his mother are our hosts. They are incredible. Yuri is a cook, and has made great meals. He’s also been nice enough to show us around town day after day.
A great group dynamic so far.
The best part about our host house is the roof top terrace. An amazing view with the mountains in the background. One of my favorite parts of Cuzco is the fact that the mountains are right here.
The view from the terrace!
Cuzco has a very authentic, older charm to it. Incan ruins are scattered across town. Older women walk around in traditional Peruvian clothing. Many of the steep, narrow, streets are still the original streets built by the Incas and later the Spanish.
In our first week here we’ve had an opportunity to visit a few of the cities most famous attractions. The main square is known as Plazas de las Armas. The square includes a beautiful church and is overrun by tourists and locals looking to sell goods.
Another attraction is Christo Blanco. A steep stair walk through an older part of the city brought us to a 270 degree view of the city and the surrounding mountains. This is a statue of Jesus overlooking the city. The statue is powerful and the view of the city is stunning. The statue was a gift from Palestinian Christans about 100 years ago.
There are several extensive Incan ruins sites around town to be visited…
I also had the opportunity to explore the San Pedro market. This market is covered by a roof and sells just about every food imaginable along with textiles and random items.
The stray dogs in Cuzco are active, even more so than in Bolivia. Dogs in Peru is yet to come. But for now, here’s alpacas and llamas of Peru.
Peru is a beautiful, magical, country. And we haven’t even been to the mountains yet. On Sunday we will head into the Andes for a hike, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Oh, also the food is incredible…and cheap! My lunch for several days (it’s so good) Lomo Saltado con huevo about $4.30.
This has been a fantastic start to the trip so far. Apart from some sickness here and there everything has pretty much gone smoothly. In the short time that I’ve been in South America, I already feel like I’ve been able to experience the culture and history and I’m so blessed to be able to do that. My medium for expressing the culture here is through photography. Everyday I get to go out and practice my art. I’ve started to develop my style of photography and I just keep practicing everyday. I love it. There are so many parts of everyday life I want to capture, but I only get to capture so much, and in the way I see fitting. I’ve been playing with shooting at a very wide aperture, focusing more or less on just one subject. By doing that I feel that I am able to focus on one part of the shot, a person, or building, or street ite. I like this because it zeros on one just one part of the image. One part of the everyday life of a different culture.
Cuzco, Peru (Update from Emil)
I can’t say I have been disappointed with Peru so far. I am not quite sure what my expectations for this beautiful country were coming into the trip, however they have far exceeded anything I had originally thought. Peru is unlike anything I have experienced elsewhere in the world. It’s landscape is incredibly diverse, from the Amazon Basin to the high Andes, there is a world of possibilities unmatched by any other country. Cusco is so rich in culture. It’s streets are hundreds of years old, ridden with old Inca and Spanish ruins. Many of these side streets have the same atmosphere and beauty of Rome or Paris. Not only is the landscape beautiful, but it’s people are too. I can’t say I have had a bad encounter with a local. Everyone I have had the pleasure of talking to has been incredibly kind and understanding. I love this city, I love it’s people, and I love its culture!
2 thoughts on “Greetings from Cuzco, Peru”
Love hearing about your adventures and enthusiasm, Jack. I hope you get to see more of the Sacred Valley while you’re in the area. I loved Ollantaytambo and Urubamba. But wherever you go, stay safe and happy. And remember: have fun, learn as much as you can, and be good to yourself and other people.
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Tomorrow we are doing the rainbow mountain trek! Might try and get out to the Sacred valley next weekend!!