Wednesday, July 19 _ [San Blas at night]. My favorite neighborhood in Cusco is San Blas (picturesque). It is lined with artists’ studios and artisans’ workshops, many of the best bars and restaurants, and hostels. It’s a great area to wander around (many streets are pedestrian-only). The neighborhood also has spectacular panoramic view of Cusco.

Thursday, July 20 _ [San Blas by day]. After the Spanish conquest it became a colonial parish with many colonial architectural influences.  It is an area quite different to the rest of Cusco, now known as the barrio de los artesanos.

Friday, July 21 _ Last day of classes at Academia Latinoamericana de Español! This school occupies a beautiful and historical colonial home from 19th century on one of the many small plazas, called Plaza Limacpampa Grande 565, right behind of the most important site from pre-Colombian Cusco, the Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun). I’ve enjoyed the international atmosphere, and the teachers have allowed me to take a deep plunge into history and into an ancient and mysterious culture, and as a result I have a clearer understanding of the people and the rich cultural heritage of the country. I’ve spent the past two weeks at Academia Latinoamericana with 3 other Spanish teachers from the States who were also awarded scholarships to study abroad (Karen [Oregon], Holli [Wisconsin], and Erin [South Carolina].

Saturday, July 22 _ Today I say “goodbye” to Cusco. It could not have been a better cultural, social, academic and overall wonderful experience. I have nothing but positive things to say about my two weeks studying abroad. I’ve learned so much about Cusco, the Incas and history in general. The adventures I participated in were once in a lifetime, and I’m sure once I get home I will reminisce them all. But it was also the people that made all the experiences. I say goodbye to this beautiful city, but one day I will be returning with my wife, Petra.
Uv. Mateo Pumacahua c-6-a Wanchaq has been my home for the past 14 days. Living with the Lazares Zamalloa host family has been the best way to immerse myself in the culture and language.

When I first arrived in Cusco I started seeing Inca influence all around. A monument for an Inca warrior, Tupac Yupanqui, a Golden Sun waterfall and foundations of Inca buildings were everywhere. Cusco is about 11800 feet high. Incas called it Cosco which in Quechua means “pile of rocks”. Spanish changed the name to Cusco – Santiago de Cusco (because they could not pronounce it). You will get some mild symptoms of altitude sickness. A beverage called “mate de coca” will help. (Don’t worry, it’s just an herbal tea).

The historic centre of Cusco is incredibly pretty and well kept. The 360 degree view from the Plaza de Armas is incredible. Cusco was the capital of Incas and everything in the architecture and the clothing of the people says so. They may have been defeated but they are not gone. The people and the history of the Kings is still here. Without question, a must visit place. What an amazing place, filled with history and beauty.

Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machupicchu have been some of my best destinations in the world. The beauty of the archaeological sites in a unique natural setting is mind-blowing. It is like heaven. Machu Picchu may be the most breathtaking sight for me, and Cusco an exhilarating lovely city. Views that literally take your breath in every direction. The Inca’s had an awesome idea of a building site. Worth the journey here 100%. The most amazing views I have ever experienced. Seeing Machu Picchu with my own eyes left me speechless. It is an experience I will never forget . The aurora of this wonder resonates with you for days.

“Can’t take a bad picture here”. “Chao, Perú. Nos veremos pronto”..

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