The Gayest Town in the World?

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The Cusco city flag.

Visiting Cusco, Peru, during Gay Pride month can be confusing and colorful for tourists. There are rainbow flags flying all over the city. This is because the city flag of Cusco, often mistakenly called the Inca flag, is a rainbow flag. The difference between the Cusco city flag from the LGBTI rainbow flag is an extra pale blue stripe. But, both flags are about freedom and pride. IMG_0786

I saw many tourists getting very happy when they discovered that the pride flag of the city of Cusco was a rainbow.

Sacred Valley Vegetables – Lettuce Never Tasted So Good!

Cusco is usually considered a preparatory stop on the way to Machu Picchu. But, Cusco should be considered a food destination. The food in Cusco was like the weather, crisp and clean. Every time I asked about the vegetables, including the lettuce, I was told that they were fresh from the Sacred Valley. I don’t have many photos of our salads… because it’s salad.IMG_1039

One of the salads included a peanut-like item which was also from the Sacred Valley.

I don’t like quinoa but when it’s used to bread deep fried shrimp, then I like it. The food in Cusco was delicious. Surely, it helped that we had been out in the fresh Sacred Valley air all day.

Burning Like Bacon on Machu Picchu

Huayna Picchu behind the Machu Picchu ruins.
Huayna Picchu behind the Machu Picchu ruins.

“What is that pain? Do you smell bacon?” I thought to myself as I stood atop Machu Picchu, one of the wonders of the world. It was high noon and I was in short pants. With bare feet. Standing at the oculus of the Incan empire. Getting fried like a piece of bacon on a grease fire.

Inside the Vistadome.
Inside the Vistadome.

Aside from the bacon sensation, I tried to focus on the spirituality of Machu Picchu. Without doubt, it’s beautiful. A bucket list place, done. Even in the harsh flattening light of mid-day and crawling with 2,000 tourists (or whatever the daily quota is these days), Machu Picchu is still awesome. Just like the bus ride up from Aguas Calientes was awesome. Even after endless ruins and crenellations razoring one valley after another, it was still impressive. Go there if you can. Maybe do the early morning tour.

The river way down below. Not great if you are afraid of heights.
The river way down below. Not great if you are afraid of heights.

So now I’ve seen it. The number one destination in South America. Yes, it was worth it. They even have an “accessible” (handicap) path for those in wheelchairs! I loved it. Me encanta!

Walking down.
Walking down.

It’s amazing to stand there on Machu Picchu, breathless from altitude and wonder. Imagine the sweat it took to build it.

Our guide, out in the mid-day sun.
Our guide, out in the mid-day sun.

And I’m whinging about a few painful sunburns.

They cleaned all the windows on the Vistadome train before we set off.
They cleaned all the windows on the Vistadome train before we set off.