Posted by: eeb | May 15, 2010

and the adventure begins…

¡Hola a todos!
¡Estoy en Cusco! I found out our hotel has wireless internet (yipee!) so I can write to you from the comfort of my hostel room, which is really nice by the way (pictures to come later).

I got into the Cusco airport around 10:30 local time (Cusco is an hour behind EST). I flew in with 4 other students from Richmond, and it was nice to be able to travel as a group. One of our group members was our RA for the trip and he speaks fluent Spanish, which came in handy at the Lima Customs. The plane ride from Lima to Cusco was spectacular, and started to make me realize that I am on a different continent. Here are a few pictures:

clouds and a river

The view from the plane was amazing! We saw mountains, rivers, snow, and clouds. The mountains were so high they peaked through the clouds. We didn’t see any roads or cars until we were about to land in Cusco, we only saw mountain after mountain.

Our professor, Dr. Mayes, picked us up at the airport and we drove in a van to our hostel. Driving in Cusco is a crazy experience; cars zoom all over the street, drivers constantly honk their horns, and everyone seems to think they have the right-of-way. The drive was only about 10 or 15 minutes, and once we got to our hotel we met up with 5 other students who had arrived earlier in the day. They were starving, so we dropped our stuff in their rooms and walked into town for lunch.

This was when I started to feel the effects of the altitude. Although Cusco is in a valley, it is still at about 11,500 feet. The 10 minute walk into the main square left me a little short of breath! The other thing that was breathtaking was Cusco’s main square, Plaza de Armas. It is stunning! There are old churches, green lawns, and mountains closing it in. We ate lunch at a cafe called Trotomundo’s, which is in the second story of a building that looks out over the Plaza. Here are some pictures:

Plaza de Armas...isn't it amazing?!

mountains surrounding the city

Lunch was my first experience with Peruvian food. I tried to keep it simple by ordering a sandwich with cheese, egg, and avocado and then a side of yogurt and fruit. The sandwich was pretty good; the highlight was definitely the avocado. I think I had close to an entire avocado on my sandwich! It was perfectly ripe and green, and the flavor was so much stronger than home. I want to just get an entire avocado and eat it by the spoonful. Then came the yogurt, which Beth and I both ordered. Let’s just say we are never ordering yogurt again. It looked like a huge bowl of soup, and it tasted like sour Greek yogurt. From the time it came to the table to the time they took it away, Beth and I could not stop cracking up at our ordering mistake.

yogurt delight (read: yogurt disaster)

After lunch we went back to the hostel and took a nap (I napped for 5 hours, which is unheard of for me). Then it was time for dinner. We went to Jack’s, which is Dr. Mayes’ favorite restaurant. I had French toast, which was delicious! Jack’s was a fun restaurant and everyone’s food looked delicious; I know it will be a favorite for me!

We walked back after dinner, unpacked and went to bed! It was a long day, but already, Cusco is an unforgettable place!



  1. Emma, Hi from Andrew’s mom! Wow-I am so excited for you! It is so great to get to experience all the different parts of the world that you guys are sharing with us. Keep up the great pictures with your interesting narrative. I hope you have a wonderful time. Gail

    • Hi Mrs. Benford–Thanks for reading! I feel so lucky to be on this trip, so I’m glad there’s a way I can share it with everyone!

  2. Hi Em, so glad for the update, food log (flog?) and photos! Much love to you from your West Virginia hills.

  3. Emma!! This is such a great blog! I hope you and Beth are having an amazing time in Peru!!

  4. Hola, Emma: I am so excited for you. And I am happy I can tag along via your posts and photos. I love the detail in your narratives. When you have time, please continue those “concrete” descriptions. I could almost taste that not-so-great yogurt! 🙂

    • Hi Florita–I’m glad to share my adventure with you (although you wouldn’t have wanted to share that yogurt!). I hope to post more about the Peruvian people and culture in the next few days!

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