Cusco sits in a valley of the Andes mountains. And while hidden between mountain ranges, it has such a striking presence. With many of the structures, streets, and plazas having been around since the fifteenth century, the city is overflowing with culture and history, thus possessing an incomparable authenticity. Street vendors fill the city plazas and sit on every corner selling fresh watermelon or coconut milk, tamales or roasted guinea pig (yes, we tried it!). And many of the women can be found wearing colorful clothing representing the indigenous culture. We even scored some Peruvian treasures of our own: this Peruvian rug that I will forever treasure, alpaca blankets, and colorful sweaters.
Having just returned home after a whirlwind eight day trip to Peru and Ecuador, South America has been on my mind constantly. It was my first time to both countries and hopefully not my last! Two friends and I threw the trip together fairly last minute and initially, we were going to skip Lima, Peru having seen it described as "strange and sad". However, despite that, a last minute decision (and a cancelled flight to Cusco on Monday) put us there for two days - two days that we were all very thankful for.
Lima's Miraflores and neighboring San Isidro District is like one giant botanical garden. Whether or not one is naturally drawn to flowers, it is almost impossible to turn a blind eye to them. Flowers are crawling through gates and standing high over walls. If there was one hanging plant there were probably nine more surrounding it. They are bright. But they are pleasant, adding just the right amount of color to the simple and modern architecture that we found ourselves among so many times. On Sunday morning, we woke up to the floral beauties at our hostel, El Patio. We walked among them on our way to the Miraflores beach and again through the residential streets of San Isidro. It was such a juxtaposition to the way Lima was originally described. It was wonderful.