Cusco 

After three nights in a dumpy hotel in Ollantaytambo we were all ready for what we knew would be a great hotel in Cusco.  After a quick breakfast, we loaded up the van and left with our driver on a tour of a few spots in  the Sacred Valley on our way to Cusco.

The scenery along the way was gorgeous.

The boys were excited to see a Batman jitney fueling up at a gas station where we had stopped.

We visited Moray with amazing concentric circles, each level with a different microclimate suited for different crops.  There is a 27° (F) difference in temperature between the top and bottom levels.


We visited the artisan vendors selling their wares.

We continued our drive through the Sacred Valley.

We next visited Chincheros where we walked through the markets and then stopped for lunch. 


Kevin continued his great behavior (while the others had assorted meltdowns) and I continued my taste-testing of all the quinoa soup I could find.

After lunch, our driver dropped us at the beautiful JW Marriott in Cusco.  The historic building used to be a convent and has been impressively restored.

Cusco is at an even higher elevation than Machu Picchu, and to help with combating the effects of high altitude, the hotel pumps oxygen into each guest room.

The hotel welcomed us with free pisco sours which we enjoyed in courtyard while pretending not to know the wild beasts running laps around the fountain.

We arrived in Cusco on Thanksgiving day.  Since we knew we weren’t going to find turkey for dinner, we instead ate at the Inka Grill on the recommendation of Brian’s brother Jay and his wife Michele who had eaten there several years ago.  With some Thanksgiving decorations I had packed in my suitcase, our table and dining companions were looking quite festive.

Kev enjoyed his first Thanksgiving celebration.  After seeing all sorts of ads for Guinea pigs, I decided to order it.  It was good, but since it was small, it was a bit of work to get the meat off the bones.  

We had a fun dinner.


We walked back to the hotel, crossing the Plaza de Armas and seeing “Cristo Blanco” (a white stone statue of Christ) on a hill in the distance.

The boys were happy to take a quick bath before heading to bed. 

Kev took his first steps and received much encouragement and praise from big brother Patrick.

The three worn out boys all slept soundly. (We didn’t have any blankets for Kevin, so my swim sarong pulled double duty.) 


At breakfast the next morning while the three boys were particularly active, a grandmotherly type woman came up behind me put her arm on my shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, my fourth was a girl.”  After a pause she added, “Because I adopted.  I knew my oven was only good for making one thing: boys!”

After eating our fill of the delicious breakfast buffet, we headed back to the Plaza de Armas to visit the cathedral.

The boys were particularly fascinated by a statue of Saint Michael the Archangel vanquishing the devil.  Patrick tried to imitate the devil’s horns with his fingers.

Inside the church, there was a prominently displayed painting of the Last Supper with a Peruvian cultural touch: the group was dining on guinea pig.  

We visited the ruins at Sacsayhuamán on the edge of town.  On the way, the boys were excited to see the Cristol Blanco statue up close.

From the top of Sacsayhuamán, we had a great view of Cusco, including the Plaza de Armas.

Kids were excited to get close to a group of alpacas.

Having seen his share of alpacas and ruins, Baby Kevin fell asleep.

On our way out, we all posed with a Peruvian woman and her mama and baby alpacas.  Kev continued his nap.

Patrick asked if he could hold the baby animal, and the woman agreed.

We headed back to the hotel and packed up a week’s worth of dirty clothes and souvenirs.  We went home with a laptop case, make-up bags (for our nannies Maria and Mercedes), a statue of an alpaca (unfortunately he lost an ear in transit), a nativity set in a shadowbox, salt and pepper shakers, Cusqueña beer glasses, and little bowls for dips or snacks.

We also got some Christmas ornaments as well as a few key chains that became ornaments too.

 

We bought the boys Machu Picchu tshirts.

Patrick and Danny got Peruvian flutes which they are working to master.


With our luggage all packed, we grabbed a quick snack in lobby bar before heading to airport.  The kids entertained themselves with straws, pretending they were hook hands and angel halos. 


We headed to the Cusco airport for our late night flight to Lima followed by an overnight flight to  Asuncion.


We had some very tired boys!


Our plane landed in Paraguay around 6am.  We grabbed our luggage, loaded up our car, headed home, and all took four-hour naps.  Machu Picchu is not easy to get to or easy to navigate with young kids, but it was a wonderful trip and we all enjoyed it!

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