From the moment we landed in Cusco two days ago we've been moving along, not letting anything get in our way. Today, was a designated day to slow down, recoup, and enjoy the city of Cusco before two big days ahead. We didn't get out of bed until close to 9 AM and really the only reason we did was breakfast ended at 10 AM. We headed down in our bare essentials, had breakfast, and enjoyed a beautiful morning at our hotel.
After breakfast, we got ready and headed out to explore the city of Cusco at around 11 AM. Our hotel is nestled right in the heart of the city, and so we ventured to Plaza De Armas which houses the Catedral and Compania De Jesus. This is really the main square of Cusco and was only a five-minute walk from our hotel. Today was the first day we both didn't take any altitude medicine and although we're far less groggy, it can get hard to breathe going up hills. In fact, we were so tired at the start that after exploring the beautiful plaza that was filled with protesters, we found a Starbucks and bought our mug and relaxed there for at least a half hour.
By a little after noon the weather went from the mid to high 30's to the high 60's and Jenn was dying in her jacket. We walked back to our hotel room, dropped off our new prized mug, and went back out. This time we felt a lot better and spent the next 3+ hours trekking through the streets of Cusco, enjoying the beautiful sights. We walked through a ton of different squares and cathedrals before deciding to make one final push to San Cristobal which we were told has amazing views of the city.
The walk to get to San Cristobal was no joke. I think there were at least 50 steps from the main plaza to San Cristobal and we both needed some breaks during the walk. By the time we got to the top the pains of getting to the top were instantly forgotten. The views of the city and the surrounding mountain ranges were absolutely stunning. We set ourselves up on a bench that overlooked almost all of Cusco and enjoyed the view. We watched some locals spare some food for a stray dog and it was captivating. We also set up our tripod and took more pictures then we probably will at Machu Picchu tomorrow (sarcasm).
After our time in San Cristobal, we made our way back to Plaza de Arms, grabbed a quick hamburger and fries at McDonald's and then made our way back to the hotel. We watched a little CNN (watched the Trump fiasco of the day) and Jenn rested and worked on our pictures while I worked on this post.
After resting for a couple of hours we went back out for dinner. Tonight we wanted to take it down a couple of notches after the delicious but incredibly rich meal at Map Cafe last night. I did some scouring and found Barrio Ceviche a restaurant located in the main square we visited a couple of times today. Although we visited the square multiple times today, it was something else at night. In the high 40's, brisk mountain air combined with the lit up hillside was something I'll never forget. Along with the altitude, it took our breath away.
We got there at around 6:30 PM and were one of the only diners there. By the time we left the entire restaurant was packed. We started off with (no surprise by the name) the classic ceviche (medium spicy). It still packed a punch but wasn't too spicy to where it overwhelmed the dish. The fish was perfect and the sauce was incredible, we loved it.
For my main entree, I really couldn't figure out what to get and kind of panicked and went with the fish and chips. Jenn being the more decisive one of the bunch ordered the Arroz Con Mariscos which is a Peruvian dish, which was fresh seafood and rice tossed in a Peruvian-spiced cream sauce. I do the happy dance a lot at dinner (I love food), but Jenn was the one doing the happy dance tonight. Her dish which reminded us both a Spanish Pallela and was incredible, a great assortment of fish, amazing spice, and delicious rice. The fish and chips were great but the portion was huge and could have easily fed both of us and our inquisitive neighbors from Germany.
We left Barrio Ceviche happy campers full, and ready to go to bed after an amazing meal. We had such an incredible time today in Cusco. It's a really special city, with beauty at every turn. And even though the city isn't the wealthiest the people here have been nothing short of spectacular. So we go to bed tonight with our bellies full and excited for our biggest day of the trip tomorrow, Machu Picchu.