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The Top 100 Places in the World...And So Much More
Blogs from: Cusco
Photo of the Day – Machu Picchu From The Heavens – Wayna Picchu – Near Cusco, PeruBest known as the steep mountainous backdrop behind Machu Picchu in the classic iconic view of the famous Inca ruins, Wayna Picchu is a name you need to memorize if you ever plan on making a visit to Peru. The view from the top of Wayna Picchu was the highlight of my trip to Peru and one of the top travel experiences of my life. Getting to this spot requires a reasonably dangerous four-hundred meter climb and a serious pause of any fear you might have of heights, but once you arrive you will be afforded with this surreal view that is certain to bring tears to your eyes.
Photo of the Day – Raw Inca Steps to Machu Picchu – Near Cuzco, PeruOne of the reasons Machu Picchu is near the top of the list of best places to visit in the world is because of the incredible way in which you can complete your journey to get there from where you are sitting right now. There is a famous ancient trail that hundreds of years ago was used by the Emperor of the Incas to ceremoniously journey to Machu Picchu. Today the path, known as the Inca Trail, is open for people to hike over a four day period through multiple environments and mountain passes before reaching the Sun Gate looking down on the grandeur of the ruins of Machu Picchu.
Will and I hiked the Inca Trail at the start of our trip around the world back in 2009. Here are a few of the steps that we passed over midway through the incredible journey. There are not many travel experiences I can recommend over hiking the Inca Trail. If you have the opportunity – don’t think twice.
Photo of the Day – Grandmas Snack Stand – Cuzco, PeruLooking at this picture I can’t help but wonder how many days in a row this woman has carefully setup her little store. Will and I found her while browsing through the central market in Cuzco searching for warm alpaca woven hats to take with us on our four day Inca Trail journey back in 2009.
Photo of the Day – Real World Ceviche – Cuzco, PeruIn our newly globalized world it is generally not that difficult to find a local version of something you fall in love with abroad. Gone are the days where specialties are localized and often thousands of miles away from the place you call home. The very best of our planet is now exported around the globe for everyone to conveniently enjoy.
This is especially true when it comes to food. If you discover Thai Curry is your new favorite food while island hopping through Southern Thailand, you’re in luck because you won’t have any difficulty finding Thai Curry when you arrive back home. Everyone is quick to note that local specialities taste the best in the locale they were conceived – Thai food of course tastes better in Thailand than in Chicago. I agree and of course that makes sense. What doesn’t add up for me is why first world countries often import common third world food items found on the streets and morph them into fancy menu items sold at laughable prices.
Ceviche is the prime example for me and it drives me nuts. In Peru you are able to find plates loaded with incredibly delicious ceviche for less than a couple of dollars. Whoever imported ceviche into the US managed to get every restaurant from coast to coast to cut out 75% of the fish in a normal portion and charge an absolute minimum of $10 per serving. Why does all ceviche in the US have to be fancy? Where can I find the inexpensive and abundant marinated citrus fish that I fell in love with on my first trip to Peru?
Here is a picture of a ceviche stand located in the middle of the central market in Cuzco, Peru. Look at the massive piles of fish that they are serving from. Look at how strikingly casual this space is and how normal the customers look. Lastly, look at the under $2 a plate prices painted on the sign in the back left. I would kill to eat at a place like this for lunch today here on the California coast
What have you fallen in love with abroad that just isn’t the same back at home?
Photo of the Day – The End of a Pigs Life – Local Market – Cuzco, PeruSorry for the gruesome title! In fact it really is not the truth as the pig in the photo was obviously dead before I showed up to take pictures. Although if you focus your eyes on the pigs face you will swear it is alive.
I took this photo while touring a local market near the historical Plaza de Armas in Cuzco back in 2009. Will and I were going on our second week of our 10 month journey around the world and we certainly were not yet numb to scenes like this in the markets. The lady in the photo just kept taking full swings at the pigs head. I actually have a full sequence of the massacre, but you don’t want to see the whole roll because this deceased pig will then come haunt you in your dreams.
The markets in Peru are among the best in the world. Sure they are not as large as The Grand Bazaar in Cairo, The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and many others, but the Peruvian markets are filled with endless scenes that will undoubtedly capture every foreigners attention. In fact this is the third Photo of the Day that has come out of a Peruvian market – “Chicken Shopping” and “Camera Friendly Butcher”.
What is your favorite of the three Peruvian Market Pictures?
Photo of the Day – Llaqtapata Ruins on the Inca Trail – near Cusco, PeruThese ruins are the first big set of ruins you encounter on the Inca Trail. I remember when we first saw these I was pretty amazed, but knew that it was only going to make Machu Picchu that much more impressive. The ruins were very far away from where we were hiking, but with the power of the Nikon 18-200 telephoto lens, we were able to bring the ruins a bit closer.
One of the more impressive parts of this ruin to me are the terraces that wrap around the mountain. They are mesmerizing in some way to me. In fact, if you look at the bottom-right of the photo, there are two large terraces leading down to the farming lands below. This is not only amazing in general, but even more amazing to think it was built 500 years ago without a single piece of machinery.