Monday, April 28, 2014

Free Day in Cusco

We started today with pancakes (Panqueques)! We also had two different types of bread: Pan huaro and chuta. Both are so delicious that the phrase "más pan" (more bread) is heard often. We needed a good breakfast before our adventures throughout Cusco.

We first went to the bank where street painters offered canvas paintings for S/.75 ($30). Not a bad price, but we knew we were going to the market later. After the bank, we went to the Dirección Regional de Cultura Cusco: Museo Historico Regional. This museum explored Cusco's history in depth including the Pre-Incas to the 18th century.

Our guide spoke Spanish throughout our tour. First, he brought us into a room with a skeleton of a giant armadillo to represent the animals that early nomads would hunt for food. Then came the Pre-Incas which included Qatakaill, Killke, Lucre, Wari tribes and many more. And not too soon after, the Incas, 12,000-15,000 people strong, came with a culture all their own. One particular piece of their culture that I found fascinating was the process of making Chicha, a strong, corn-based beer. The Inca's created cone-shaped vases to ferment the Chicha because it helped the fermentation process. Then they would transport the Chicha in another cone-shaped vase called "Mak'a".

Other information that is worthy to note is about the last Inca: Tupa'q Amaru. He was the last person with royal Incan blood lineage. He inspired another man to take his name in order to lead a rebellion. This second Tupa'q fought for independence from the Spanish King and Church in 1781. He was dismembered by the Viceroys; however the name continued to inspire the people of Cusco to fight oppression.

One last influential part of Cusco's history is Garcilaso del Inca. He wrote the first official history of Peru and Cusco in his Reality Commentaries in 1572. He was born to a Spanish Captain as his father and to his mother who was Peruvian. The label mestizo (spanish and indigenous mix) was upheld by him not only in his writings but also in the shield he created which has two different designs to represent each culture.

After the museum, we couldn't wait to get lunch! Eullalia was a traditional restaurant where Beth had Trucha (trout), Amy, Dra. Shaw, Angela and I had the Roccoto Relleno (Stuffed Peppers), and Michael had Pollo (Chicken with potatoes and vegetables). And I can't forget that some of us had the infamous Inca Kola!

The rest of the day consisted of shopping in the open market where we bought much more than we intended due to our newly learned bargaining skills. We also went to a cafe for wifi to contact our families and friends. Then, to end the day, we  ate at the restaurants Ciccolina. The food we ate at lunch and here were the best we've had all week. Dra. Shaw, Angie, and I had the Tagliatelli with chicken and sautéed vegetables, and creamy sauce. Amy and Michael had Tagiolini with prawns, squid ink, coconut milk, ginger, lemon grass, and coriander. Finally, Beth had the Polenta with meat sauce. All in all, I could eat that food all day everyday!

No comments: