We had another half of day in Cusco before we had to catch a bus out to the Ollantaytambo station to catch a train to Aguas Calientes. But before I go into that, let me introduce you to one of Peru’s most exquisite delicacies: cuy!  What is “cuy” you may ask?  Why it’s the name given by the locals to one of natures most delicious, nutritious, and downright adorable creatures: the humble GUINEA PIG.

That’s right, folks! The name “cuy” is a local onomatopoeia based on the squeaking sounds of the guinea pigs.  These little critters are a good source of protein and are raised in farms all over Peru.  They tend to be a tourist draw as I noticed a lot of restaurants in the area offering it on their menus.  A roasted cuy can take nearly an hour to prepare, so we made a lunch reservation at a spot near our hostel called PachaPapa and wandered around town as we waited.

Plazoleta de Santa Cantolina.

Plazoleta de Santa Cantolina.

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Morning arrived with the sound of car honks with a hint of diesel.  Our window opened to the street below and caught every car, truck and pedestrian sound that passed by.  A good night’s rest helped with the altitude sickness, and we felt a bit more ready to hit the streets. As we made our way towards the main square, we passed through a small farmer’s market in San Blas near the fountain that we walked by yesterday during our walking tour.  At the base of the fountain was a small courtyard where a group of traditionally-dressed dancers performed with a band.  The dancing involved a lot of trotting and skipping as the flute and the mandolins blared through the worn-out speakers.  Near the end, the dance became more comedic as the men began to pick up the women and carry them away while the women slapped the men’s butts in protest reminiscent of some old cartoons I watched as a kid where cavemen would bonk women over the head and drag them away.  We then grabbed an early lunch at Jack’s which seemed very westernized with its menu of sandwiches and espresso machines.

Dancers in San Blas district.

Dancers in San Blas district.

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In June, Olwen and I got the chance to take a trip to Peru to visit Macchu Picchu. We were just in Cancun for my brother’s wedding (congrats Daren and Jessica!) and decided to take a side trip to South America since we were already south of the border. I had a fascination with Peru, and it was the first South American country I wanted to visit.

Arriving in Cusco.

Arriving in Cusco.

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