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Discovering ancient wonders and mysteries in Peru is a never ending story. The country is full of hidden treasures. Anyway the biggest experience you can get in Peru is meeting the friendly and hospitable inhabitants.

An adventurous trip to Peru, an enigmatic country thriving with culture, nature and history - Part 4 of 4

Life in the Andes - After tasting a glimpse of mountainous divinity…we took the backpacker train four hours back to Cuzco, the oldest continually inhabited city on the planet…talk about history!

Colourful Indian girls. © Josh Cutler.

The cobblestone streets survived numerous invasions by the Chileans, Bolivians and Spanish. They could tell a million tales of mystery and intrigue. Today, in Cuzco's Plaza De Armas, this ancient vibe transcends through architecture and scenery that has remained unchanged for centuries. 

The town boasts a very hip backpacker scene…gringos coming and going from the mountains and jungle pass through this bohemian bottleneck town.

We wandered around its antique streets until we got lost…then we wandered around some more. 

Photo. Two Indian girls in Cuzco.
 © Josh Cutler. 

We couldnt resist these two.

Cuzco definitely tops the list of the world's most fascinating travel cities. 

Andean delicacy?
Food in Peru is extremely delicious. The fruit is fresh from the jungle and the fish are pulled out of the Amazon every day and delivered to your table.  A lot of local restaurants offer western dishes as well as Peruvian fare. Some exotic meat choices include llama, alligator, guinea pig, and various fried up insects. Marna and I stuck to the basics…opting not to try any local game.

At least that's what we thought…

To celebrate Marna's 31st birthday we decided to skip the 2 sole special (66 cents for a huge set menu!!)…We went to the slightly upscale Inca Grill in downtown Cuzco. Desiring a taste of home, Marna ordered the lasagna…The first couple bites were delicious as she gobbled them up…famished from the hike earlier in the day. 

Suddenly she bit into something hard and chewy. After grinding the mystery meat in her molars she spit it out to find a cooked guinea pig paw…fingernails and all!  Ewwww!!! Although considered a local delicacy, the menu said beef!  We were not amused by the fuzzy nub in her lasagna. Needless to say, Marna ordered only chicken for the rest of the trip. She was totally freaked out by the "Fear Factor" stew in front of her. 

Photo. Meeting of local Indians on our way. © Josh Cutler.

Later we joked that somewhere in Cuzco there was a guinea pig with a slight limp because of our cook…its good we can laugh about it now…

Viva la shopping
Southern Peru is a shopper's Mecca. Our plan for the last day in Cuzco was to venture out of town on the public bus to the Sacred Valley. In the town of Pisac there is a massive market every Sunday.

Photo. Pisac market...A little local enjoying a lollipop.

Marna couldn't resist a chance to shop…especially in this infamous mercado.

Locals dressed in traditional garb appeared as if they stepped out of another century. © Josh Cutler.

Photo. Locals shopping in the Mercado. © Josh Cutler.

I took fantastic pictures that would make National Geographic jealous. The colours of the market were blinding!  We wandered around and spent some of our Soles…(Peruvian dollars). Fine examples of alpaca wool were everywhere, there was no shortage of selection…Marna made friends with the vendors and her español helped us get the best price on alpaca wool sweaters, ponchos, hats and gloves…we are set for winter!

After our backpacks reached their limit in wool we made our way to the Sacred Valley ruins of Pisac and Sacsuayhuaman (pronounced "sexy woman"). 

Photo. Massive monoliths at the ancient site Sacsuayhuaman (pronounced "sexy woman").  
© Josh Cutler.

The ruins of Sacsuayhuaman makes Stonehenge look like a bunch of pebbles…We wandered around the ancient artefacts consisting of colossal stones weighing up to 300 tons! It baffled me how a culture without modern machinery could move such monoliths!

The ruins form the design of a jaguars head from the sky…the massive 20 foot tall rocks towering overhead were the jagged teeth of the beast. We stared at amazement…the ancient Incans with their primitive tools really created this primitive masterpiece. Archaeologists estimate that only 20% of the site is actually excavated. We were literally seeing just the tip of the iceberg!

Photo. Stonehenge (outside London) is nothing compared to this!

Massive monoliths in Peru at the ancient site Sacsuayhuaman (pronounced "sexy woman").  
© Josh Cutler.

The day was winding down and the distant sun was setting in the horizon. Mañana we would head back to Lima to wind down our trip. This quest to the distant corners of Peru far exceeded our expectations and dreams. We highly recommend a trip to this enigmatic country thriving with culture, nature and history. From the jungle, desert, islands and mountains…we really experienced a lot of what Peru had to offer.

Josh Cutler, 8 November 2004

Additional information

Presentation of the author:

Photo of Josh Cutler, a great adventure traveller from USA.

© Photo Copyright for all photos in this article: Josh Cutler.

E-mail address: NYCutler@aol.com

Where can travellers book their tours for travelling in Peru?
Any tour operator organising tours to Machu Picchu, Amazon or to other places in Peru, which want to promote their tour offers on our website, contact us for targeting advertising and campaigns. 

Travel Explorations
E-mail: stein@travelexplorations.com.

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