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Cusco Landscape

Settling In and Making Cusco Our Home

Written by Lucas Bailey, 2014 Peru: Mind & Body.

A quick look at the Wikipedia page for Cusco tells you that it has a population of just over 500,000 with an estimated two million visitors each year. For us, walking the streets in Cusco means passing fellow travellers and feeling an almost tangible sense of adventure.

Our team is using Cusco as a hub, setting off from and returning to our hostel (Apu Wasi) as we go to our service projects, trek to Macchu Pichu, and break off for our own independent trips. Because of this, the city that hosts almost every visitor to Peru feels like home.

Walking along the cobblestone streets treats the eye to dozens of restaurants, shops selling high-performance hiking gear and cozy alpaca clothing, and tour operators boasting about sites to see in the valley. Our crew had a blast haggling over wool sweaters and trying more local foods (and yes, occasionally slipping into old habits by ducking into fast food outlets).

We were in Cusco for the Peruvian National Holidays, which commemorate when the country declared its independence. This is an important holiday, with the President traditionally giving a speech on the state of the country, its progress, and its challenges. This moment of national reflection has special significance for us, as we put our best effort towards working with Peruvian communities to support their visions of becoming stronger.

The fireworks for the holiday started at about in the morning, confusing and startling us, continuing throughout the day. At one point we heard a marching band go by our hostel, causing some sleepy chuckles.

Cuddles in Peru
We are a third of the way through our experience in Peru, so we have a few more visits to Cusco scheduled. As excited as we are for all of our adventures still to come, it’s nice to have someplace familiar where we can rest, charge our camera batteries, and take in some breathtaking scenery.

Lucas Bailey
2014 Peru: Mind & Body

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