Trip to Peru Day 5
Cost: Free to walk around and get acquainted and see the town. If you want to tour the cathedrals buy a pass that will get you into to all of them at any location. Individual cathedrals cost about $4 per person to enter.
Time: Plan at least 1 hour per cathedral- any time of day is great to visit except Sunday when they closed for worship.
We woke up early in Aguas Calientes after our day in Machu Picchu rested and ready for our next adventure! The train ride from Aguas Calientes to Cusco is absolutely beautiful, and we were ready for the next adventure.
We'd heard mixed things about Cusco. So many people said it's amazing and they wish they'd had more time there, and equal amounts of people told us it's a touristy city and really not to waste time there. We still opted for a day and a half, and I have to admit at first I wasn't super excited to go there.
I mean The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu are amazing, and the idea of leaving the Incan ruins for a city that have Spanish buildings, namely cathedrals, built on top of the Incan ruins sounded like such a turnoff. I honestly felt like I didn't care to learn the history of how Spain conquered one of the greatest civilizations, and that I'd feel really sad seeing modified ruins.
Something happened to me in in our first cathedral, which happened to be the original Incan temple. As we walked around inside and saw the modern uses and the great faith of the people, it hit me that this is Peru. They are a people who are proud to be of Incan heritage, they are proud to be Catholic and grateful to have learned of Christianity through the Spaniards, and they are deeply entrenched in both cultures and histories. Cusco is amazing because it is the perfect representation of the people.
Maybe we had the upper hand speaking Spanish and having a local tour guide walk around, one who serves significantly in his church and in most of the festivals, but I think it just takes a little time and history, and a view of the locals to fall in love with a place.
And oh boy did we fall in love with Cusco!
Even with the tourist traps and the fact that most people stopped to ask me to take their picture, I still love Cusco. Jacob couldn't resist taking at least one picture of me offering my services. I guess a DSLR around your neck lets people know you're likely capable.
We loved touring the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. It's definitely worth the price, and if you don't have a local who knows all the happenings, be sure to get a tour guide.
Just don't tell on us for snapping a picture, we seriously couldn't resist!
As much as I hated the idea of Incan ruins being converted to modern buildings, when I saw it in practice I was in awe, so beautiful!
My other favorite thing was the fact that every single building has a cool door. They are either beat up and what most Americans pay big money for in the shabby chic scene, or completely ornate and elaborate. I started taking pictures of us just in front of the doors.
We also got excited to find the famous 12 point stone in the historic part of town.
Seriously, one day of touring three Cathedrals, walking through town, and talking to the locals, and Cusco had a big piece of my heart.