Our first night in the hostel was a little cold, with temps reaching 35F but it wasn’t as bad as expected. We woke up bright and early to enjoy the FREE provided breakfast at our hostel. There was a small array of cereal, yogurt, toast with jam, coffee and tea. We decided to try out the coco leaves in a tea – placed 10-12 leaves in hot water and letting it seep for 10 minutes. The tea was quite tasteless but not necessarily bad. John didn’t have any dizzy spells today so it could have helped, or he could be getting used to the altitude..
We then began to head towards the center square of Cusco and walk around the city. On the way we passed a large market; San Pedro where locals were selling EVERYTHING!! The market was very crowed with people and merchandise! There we beautiful hand made clothes, hats, and bags. Farmers selling fresh fruit, meat and small meals. We decided to look around the whole place and return later on this week to make any purchases.
We proceeded to the square, passing more shops and vendors on the sides of the street. Many young Peruvians were trying to sell day tours, it was hard to tell what was a good deal so we decided to take some flyers and ask more when returning to the hostel. Here in the square there is a beautiful fountain situated in the middles surrounded by nicely manicured lawns and barracaded in by large historical buildings. We stopped at a local cafe with outdoor seating to grab a coffee and decide our next plans.
We decided on visiting the Covento de Santo Domingo del Cusco – Qorikancha. Its an old cathedral situated right by the square with museum-esque paintings and information throughout the building – inside and outside. At the entrance there were local Peruvians offering to be a tour guide inside the Cathedral for 45 sol, we decided to be our own tour guides and just pay 15 sol each (about $5). This ended up being fine, many of the exhibits had English translations so we followed along quite easily.
After the Cathedral tour we returned back to our hostel to make our own lunch of PB&J’s 🙂 On our walk back a made a new furry little friend – Pepe. Many locals have baby animals available for pictures for just 1 sol. I couldn’t resist!!
After a quick nap and trying out the hostel showers- which actually had hot water and were very clean. We went back to the center square to walk around some more. We took a different route this time, which brought us along some of the more local shops which were selling anything from kitchen faucets to mattresses. Back in the square we searched around for a place to stop for dinner; settling at a Pizzeria where we sat street side and watched the buzz and bustle go by. We ordered an everything pizza, and had cheese cake for dessert costing a mere $20 with drinks included.
Tonight our hostel is hosting an event where we can try local drinks and meet fellow guests. I look forward to meeting some fellow travelers who may be joining us in a few days for our Machu Picchu Trek!