Cusco is a cool place to be for kids! We spent Christmas there and then nearly two weeks more in January. The best thing for me was meeting people and making friends. It’s great making friends everywhere on our gap year but Cusco was especially amazing!
The second best thing about Cusco was food! We ate at some amazing restaurants and the food and friends kind of blended together!
First there was Elizabeth and Erick – owners of Uchu, a great peruvian steakhouse restaurant we ate at on our first night in Cusco and straight away made friends with Elizabeth who is from the States. We spent Christmas Eve with them and met their family and made more friends!
Actually, in the Sacred valley we went to their other restaurant called Blue Puppy, named after their lovely dog who we met at a Christmas too! And while we were there a giant picture of Machu Picchu fell off the wall above me and Mum!! It was going to crash on our heads and I think our heads would have popped through the other side but my Dad saw it and managed to catch it! That made us laugh so much it was an icebreaker to meet another family, half English, half American on holiday from New York with two blonde children our ages – so we chatted to them all evening!! We emailed Elizabeth and told her all about it and sent her the pictures – I think she put them on her website!!!
One of Elizabeth’s friends told us about Lainie and Miro who are a Mum and son ‘slow travelling’ around the world – I thought we were spending a long time in South America but they have been travelling for 3 years and are living in Cusco at the moment. It was brilliant meeting them and seeing where they live, going to the local park, fighting with Miro’s swords and seeing some of a Cusco with them!
Miro learns by ‘unschooling’ which I liked the sound of a lot 🙂 it means you learn about what you’re interested in!
And they took us to some favourite tucked away cafes and restaurants that you wouldn’t find if you didn’t spend a while getting to know a city! Soon we were bumping into people we knew everywhere! At Encantasqa where you can spot fairies and castles and unicorns on the magical walls (Lara loved this and talked to all the other customers about them!) we met the girls who we’d met at Christmas and ate the most unbelievable hot chocolate cup cakes – which we also got for Lara’s birthday!
At the South American Explorers club we met Lina, the new manager, who helped us with all sorts of great advice on travelling around and then Elizabeth showed up and it turned out she used to be the manager! Zoe and I got a slack lining lesson there too!
We went back to Uchu a couple more times and Elizabeth and Erick let us work in the kitchen and make some dishes and do some serving in the restaurant.
Then,Dad, Zoe and I spent a day doing cooking school with Erick! He took us to the market and then we cooked all afternoon and
eventually ate what we’d made and shared it with Mum, Lara, Oma and Lainie on our last night!
I made friends with all the servers in Starbucks on the Plaza de Las Armas!! We went in there quite a few times and sat and used wifi. I discovered cookies and cream Frappucchino (without the coffee!!!) and Zoe and I even did some schoolwork in there! I would chat to the servers and practice my Spanish and on the last day they gave us free coffees, cookies and frappucchinos to say goodbye!
Another restaurant we loved was Inkazuela… Where they serve amazing peruvian stews! The waiter there Francesco became a good friend and I would pop in to say hello and have a chat when we went past!
We found good Sushi restaurants, Italian, Mum and Dad went to a French restaurant and we were in one traditional restaurant where a guy at the next table had roasted guinea pig and let me try some! It wasn’t my favourite and I don’t think it looks very appetising, do you?
My absolute favourite though was alpaca and beef steak at Uchu! I might be allergic to alpaca fur on living alpacas but I didn’t have any trouble eating them!!!
It’s really fun being able to speak another language enough to make friends and people are really friendly when you can speak their language. My Mum and Dad and Oma often ask me to help translate and I really want to learn more whilst we’re here. But I must admit, it’s really nice to make friends in English too and not have to concentrate so hard to talk to someone!!
I’ll write more about food and friends in other countries soon!