Cuzco, Qosqo – works whichever way

Qosqo (in Quechua, a vanishing ancient language) to the Incans is what Cuzco (in phonics, haha) is to the Spanish. Cuzco city is synonymous with altitude sickness. Over 3000 meters above sea level, almost anyone who was not acclimatized would feel, at minimum, a bit of discomfort. Particularly those who fly in from areas at sea level…which is everywhere. So we prepared ahead and took Diamox to get it out of the way. But even then, I had tingly fingers and toes when the meds started to wear out as the next dose was due. I didn’t find the coca tea they said could alleviate symptoms to be particularly helpful, but drinking liquids to keep hydrated certainly was.

Cuzco is also the gateway to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and 3000 species of potatoes as well as the largest corn kernels I have ever seen! But I never expected it to be little Prague, albeit with clear Spanish influence in its architecture. So pretty. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site too, one of many in Cuzco.

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The Spaniards took full advantage of the sturdy stone walls that the Incans built, and restoration works helped us see clearly how the buildings were forced to blend into one another. But I have to say that the masonry skills required of the Incans to carve out precise pieces of stones that fit together perfectly without modern tools are astounding. With locking systems too. Neat. That said, this was the 15th/16th century we are referring to. Many centuries before this, the Egyptians have already proven themselves fine craftsmen and architects. I didn’t think there is great improvement there.

But the food has certainly evolved from Egyptian times. They eat Alpacas and Guinea pigs. Of course, there is no way I’d have a guinea pig for lunch or dinner, but I did try Alpaca. Tasted like chicken…like every other strange pieces of meat. And their trout ceviche! Yummmmmss!!!

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Clockwise, from top left:
Chicha Morada, a drink of purple corn. Similar to Ribena but fresher and more flavorful.
Pisco Sour, a local alcoholic drink made from white grapes, egg white and dash of cinnamon
Corn and flava beans, an appetizer
Ceviche, a Peruvian concoction and speciality. Not French as I had thought.
Alpaca steak, with salad, rice, potatoes. Carbo overload.
Trout steak, as above.
Local soup of the day, made with veggies, potatoes and innards. Delish!
Cheese, locally made from cow’s milk to be had together with the appetizer of corn

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