after our time in machu picchu we headed to cusco. i love exploring new cities so i was really excited to get a change of scenery and visit this historic city. we spent our first day exploring cusco, as well as some nearby ruins which were really fascinating because so much of the city is influenced by both inca and spanish cultures. the city was smaller than i thought it would be but with all the narrow cobble stone streets we felt like we were in a maze most of the time which was pretty fun. after a full morning with a tour guide it was exciting to wander around later that day with no map or cell phone to guide us! i was thankful that between the three of us we have a good sense of direction or we would have never found our way back to the hotel.
i will always have especially fond memories of cusco because this is where the best meal of the trip took place. we were wandering around the city square when the clouds opened up to a huge downpour. since it was around lunchtime we ran to one of the first restaurants we saw and hoped we could wait out the storm while eating lunch. as soon as we were greeted by the hostess and looked around the restaurant we knew we were in for a treat. here are some photos of the food which don't do it justice. let's just say we were all dreaming about that meal for many months after!
after our amazing lunch we went home to regroup and gear up for the new years eve festivities. we felt fortunate that we were in a city for new years eve because it lent itself to some great celebrations. we spent the night in plaza de armas and were entertained by all the locals and tourists that came out to celebrate. with beer being sold on the streets and fireworks shooting off in every direction there were some interesting moments but it was such a neat way to ring in the new year.