Cusco with kids

January  2013. We already had a week in Cusco over Christmas, then New Year in Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Then we spend another 10 days in Cusco. Partly to wait for a parcel to arrive from the UK but really because we are loving Cusco.

Aspects of Cusco

Aspects of Cusco

There’s plenty more to explore and it’s a great place to get to know and feel settled, for Martin to do some work, the kids catch up on little schoolwork and especially make some more friends…Not to mention having a few more super times dining at some of the best restaurants we’ve found in South America!

First we have the privilege of meeting and hanging out with 13 yr old Miro and Mum Lainie, who are three years into a slow travelling life of adventure, learning and volunteering. Their lives and journeys are inspirational and well documented in their blog and podcast at RaisingMiro.com. It’s great to make friends and share experiences with other travelling families!

With the lovely Lainie and  Miro.

With the lovely Lainie and Miro.

Lainie and Miro show us some favourite haunts, their lovely, cosy and simple home overlooking the city, lovely cafes, some run by other friendly ex pats and the local playground where kids and alpacas mingle! We chat about roadschooling, worldschooling and unschooling and they share their passion for Cusco and its hidden secrets at Qorikancha where we realised that whilst the tour guides show you everything as ‘Inca’ actually the Incas were only in power a short time and only 500 years ago. The mysteries of pre Inca civilisations is much more alluring and we spend and afternoon examining the amazing way the ancient building and temple were constructed, wondering and debating just how they achieved what they did!

Exploring Qorikancha and wondering at the pre Inca civilisations skills

Exploring Qorikancha and wondering at the pre Inca civilisations skills

Within the central courtyard of the ancient walls, around which the Spanish built a huge church, lies the original centre of Cusco. From here there were imaginary ‘Seqe’ lines all around the capital city on which were built many other sacred points and long which many prominent figures are buried. It’s fascinating! A lot of what Lainie and Miro share comes from more recent archeological schools of thought but much of the perfect stonework including perfect holes drilled through hard granite remains a mystery!

The Centre of Cusco and Seqi system, and what the stars meant to the ancient pre incans, which we find out more about in the Planetarium

The Centre of Cusco and Seqi system, and what the stars meant to the ancient pre Incans, which we find out more about in the Planetarium

Cusco is great for kids and a highlight of our family gap year…aside from the obligatory Chocolate Museum tour and chocolate making classes – a must, we spend an afternoon visiting some of the museums that were included on our 10 day tourist passes. Their main function is for visiting the many different sites near Cusco and through the Sacred valley and at 130 sol each are great value (free for kids!!) and much cheaper than paying entry at each site. The museum of Popular Art is a tiny place with a vast collection of classic models of Peruvian characters and historical or religious scenes. The contemporary art museum is fabulous and everyone chooses their favourite and explains why….

Zoe's favourite piece in the contemporary art museum

Zoe’s favourite piece in the contemporary art museum

Everyone elses faves at the Cusco Contemporary art Museum

Everyone elses faves at the Cusco Contemporary art Museum

The modern history museum is great too and the kids are fascinated and horrified by the Spanish treatment of the indigenous people particularly a huge painting of an Incan warrior being hung drawn and quartered!  After having it explained by another visitor, Lara proceeds to explain it to the next few visitors who came in the room! The Inca museum isn’t included but it’s not much to pay and it’s certainly worth it, especially after you’ve visited Machu Picchu for the great model of Machu Picchu and a great collection of mummies housed in a darkened area that you can peep into to view them.

Then we spent a wonderful evening at the Planetarium. Reading good reviews at Trip Advisor, we booked for the daily evening trip and got picked up from the city centre in a minivan at 5.30pm. Arriving a few minutes later in someone’s back garden it seems but we soon find there’s a wonderful child friendly talk, planetarium star show and real viewing of stars and planets if the sky is clear – and it was! – we saw a magnificent constellation and also Jupiter and its four moons and learnt all about the stars and sun and what they’ve meant in Peruvian history!

The open top bus ride was fun and even takes us by Saskayhuaman, one of the main Inca sites on the edge of Cusco!

Of course, we also loved eating out at many of the lovely restaurants in Cusco – using Trip Advisor to guide us! The kids got to help out in the kitchen with or new friend Elizabeth and Erick and then Martin and the kids did a  wonderful cooking class with Erick.

Cheffing, Waiting, Learning with Elizabeth and Erick at Uchu and Marcelo Batata

Cheffing, Waiting, Learning with Elizabeth and Erick at Uchu and Marcelo Batata

Ben made friends with all the staff in Starbucks and whilst Martin got to sit and catch up on some work over a Venti Latte, it also made a relaxing place for us to catch up on email or diaries and the kids were never more willing to spend a morning doing schoolwork than  with the promise of a Cusco special Cookie Crumble Frappucchino and a Brownie!!

A hard morning's work in Starbucks!

A hard morning’s work in Starbucks!

Finally after speaking with numerous people in the main Post Office and being led around sorting rooms, for a day or two, the impressive tracking system and friendly PO staff help us locate our parcel and we get ready to say goodbye to Cusco and head south to Lake Titicaca.

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bill Cook
    Feb 26, 2013 @ 17:34:27

    Hey, good to hear from you; I was beginning to worry!
    Ben’s new girlfriend could do with a good meal and a pedicure.

    Reply

    • Mo
      Feb 27, 2013 @ 00:28:06

      We’re all fine Bill…apologies for the absense! Especially after reports of our split up!! HAHA – I had to look through to see which girlfriend you meant! I suppose we could’ve gotten Erika to do some chiropody but I feel she was really beyond it 🙂 x

      Reply

  2. Sandra
    Feb 26, 2013 @ 17:35:14

    Good to hear from you! I loved Cusco, too (the city somehow makes you feel at home within just hours, doesn’t it?). So I really envy you for all the time you are able to spend there. That must be inspiring indeed. Take care – while I’m looking forward to reading more of your adventures.

    Reply

    • Mo
      Feb 27, 2013 @ 00:32:15

      Hey Sandra, good to hear from you. Cusco was a definite highlight of our family gap year, but behind the Galapagos which still holds top memory so far for us all ! Though we’re behind on the blogs and it already feels like a distant memory. Won’t be so long before we’re in Patagonia which will bring back more memories for you:) Big hug from Lara, love from us all xx

      Reply

      • Sandra
        Feb 28, 2013 @ 06:56:58

        Patagonia you say? Damn, I guess I really can’t convince my boss of something like holiday after just having started the job some two months ago. Would loooooove to go back! Did you know that Patagonian people (according to some survey) are the most happy and content ones in all Latin America? Well, I can image why… you will definitely love it. You just HAVE to do the All Glaciers (!) boat trip at El Calafate (make sure you get to see the Uppsala Glacier) – it will bring you close to bancrupcy but it’s so worth it! See my blog about it for some pictures of the icebergs: http://www.sandra-ficht.de/1312/wir-machen-voll-auf-pauschaltouris-und-sind-einfach-ueberwaeltigt-von-der-bootstour-durch-die-gletscher/

      • Mo
        Mar 01, 2013 @ 03:12:28

        haha, maybe not – would be lovely to see you again though:) We will definitely go to the glaciers – though I am worried about the risk of bankruptcy! Life already got a whole lot more expensive since we left Bolivia! xx

  3. Rick
    Feb 26, 2013 @ 18:10:47

    I KNEW you’d like Cusco!

    Reply

    • Mo
      Feb 27, 2013 @ 00:34:36

      Hi Rick, good to hear from you and hope all good with you. Send me an update? We did indeed love Cusco! Even if we could never catch our breath walking up the inevitable hills at that altitude
      🙂

      Reply

  4. katebil
    Feb 26, 2013 @ 19:00:21

    Great to hear from you again, thought you’d got lost! 🙂

    Reply

    • Mo
      Feb 27, 2013 @ 00:21:23

      Hi Kate, yep, we’ve been a bit quiet, too busy and limited wifi (!) and we have quite alot to catch up on but we’re not lost 🙂 x

      Reply

  5. Val
    Feb 26, 2013 @ 20:13:07

    Fascinating as usual! But can you persuade the kids to send me something soon? My lot would love to hear from them. x

    Reply

    • Mo
      Feb 27, 2013 @ 00:18:43

      Hi Val, Sorry we’ve been away so long! Have a few blogs lined up but we’ve been low on wifi time to add photos and get them posted. More coming soon I promise from everyone. I hope we haven’t missed anything from you that they haven’t replied to? You did get their three replies to all the letters and questions? Mo xxx

      Reply

  6. annathrax
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 03:03:52

    Can’t wait to take my daughter here when she is older (only 10 months ATM). I look forward to teaching her about this amazing place! Loved this post!

    Reply

    • Mo
      Feb 27, 2013 @ 15:18:52

      aww, thanks! It won’t be long, she´ll love it! I don’t think it matters how young they are to travel really, though I admit, I´m very happy we don’t have to worry about carrying or buying nappies(diapers) 🙂

      Reply

  7. Liz
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 10:26:14

    When will you be in Australia? Can’t wait.

    Reply

    • Mo
      Feb 27, 2013 @ 15:23:41

      Hi Liz, still not sure exactly – we’re delaying our flight out of Santiago again to make time for exploring Patagonia and maybe a side trip to the Falklands. Probably heading to Easter island and on to Tahiti & Cook islands mid April then we haven’t decided how long in NZ…… at this rate it will be (your) summer again before we get to you!! xx

      Reply

  8. Lainie Liberti
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 21:17:02

    Thank you so much for the wonderful mention! Miro and I LOVED meeting your family and sharing so many wonderful hours together!! Looking forward to catching up with you and your family on some other continent in the future!

    Reply

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