Our bus arrived painfully early, leaving us to do nothing but sit in the cold hostel courtyard until we could check in. Fast forwarding a few hours, we were able to get some breakfast (bread and jam…), sort out our train and travel plans, and then finally go walk around the town. Our first stop was the market, where we found a lot of local food and low prices. There were some new fruits for me to try as well – this one was called a grenada.
I was able to find some cheese and a couple of hats. I didn’t buy this one pictured, unfortunately, but found an equally awesome alpaca one to tote home instead. You’ll know it if you ever see me wearing it…
From there we walked around the main square of the city. As the central feature, this square dates all the way back to the Incan empire, where it was the center of commerce and trade. The Spanish came in and rebuilt it in their own way, which of course had to include some churches. There were two of them right there, and one was the oldest in all of South America. We would have gone inside, but they were charging lots of dineros to see what should always be free.
I had a map with a few different stops on it, but what we came to realize that there weren’t many musts in the city. We were walking up and down a street looking for a 12-sided block, but it took some locals to show us that it was just an unmarked stone. The rock perfectly exemplified their incredible masonry skills, and the fact that these mortarless walls are still standing testify to that as well.
We did a bit of shopping and then worked our way back to the main square. I had heard rumors of there being a McDonald’s, and was quite pleased to find them true. I got two new items, the saltadita burger, and also some fried yucca root. Both were good, and unique to Peru. They could do a little bit of work on the presentation here.
The next stop was to a cocoa museum. Here we were able to learn all about Peru’s growing cocoa industry, and the history of the plant in general. We tried some of there homemade chocolates, and Parker bought some tea made from the nibs. Nearby was a manger scene that had a rather indigenous flair to it.
That evening all we had planned was a visit to some local restaurant and then and early night of sleep. We were going to be up early for our train in the morning, so taking it easy and then passing out was probably the right call.