Cusco, My New Love

by Brenna Holeman

Cusco, Peru

Yesterday, after a very rocky bus ride from Arequipa, we arrived in the beautiful and infamous city (at least on the backpacker trail) of Cusco. I had heard so many things about this place, all of them praising its cobbled streets, friendly people, and great restaurants. And, after only one day, I am assured that the rumours are true.

Sometimes, for whatever reason or another, you just instantly fall in love with a city. I’ve felt it about a lot of cities in my life: St. Petersburg, Halifax, Marrakesh, Paris, Havana, Ljubljana, Hoi An, Venice, Edinburgh, New York, Jaisalmer, Quebec City, Tokyo, Istanbul, Melbourne, Cartagena, Luang Prabang, and now Cusco. There really isn’t any one defining thing about these places, nothing that really links them together other than the fact that they are indeed cities. But each of them has a uniqueness, a magic, a hustle and bustle that I find alluring, attractive, addictive.

Short of breath and with pins and needles in my limbs, I decided not to let the slight effects of the altitude hinder my curiosity. I spent the day just walking around the streets of Cusco, marvelling at the assortment of souvenirs, the low clouds over the mountains, the long braids of the women. Suddenly and without warning, the sky opened and we were greeted with a hailstorm – chunks of ice rained down upon us, tourists and locals alike. We all ducked into shops and under awnings, laughing and smiling together at the absurdity of the situation. It’s one of my favourite things, strangers sharing a joke, even if it’s in a different language. It was a great moment, and a great day.

And so, with pots of coca tea and our alpaca jumpers to keep us warm at night, we’re rapidly falling for this little city in Peru. We have a few more days here before a trek to Machu Picchu, but we’ve already planned to come back for a few days. That’s what happens in cities you love – you never really want to leave.

Which cities have you instantly fallen in love with?

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Colleen Brynn October 1, 2012 - 10:41 pm

Are you doing the big hike up?? Man I heard Liam and Sarah’s stories… Kudos to you for going for it if you are!

This Battered Suitcase October 1, 2012 - 10:49 pm

Colleen – No, I’m doing a different trek. This one combines mountain biking, ziplining, rafting, and hiking. I don’t have the money/time to do the Inca Trail, nor did I reserve it far enough in advance!

Jenna October 2, 2012 - 11:45 am

Ah! Dying to visit Cusco – this just confirms that my travel plans need to come into fruition sooner rather than later 🙂


Sarah Dobson October 2, 2012 - 12:09 pm

Amazing. Looking forward to the Machu Picchu post(s)!! Made me smile to see Halifax on your list and makes me even more excited to move back there in 13 days! Well, I’m actually moving to Dartmouth, but my bedroom view is of downtown Halifax, so it counts 🙂 I am also very much in love with Quebec City.

Christine loves to Travel October 2, 2012 - 2:24 pm

Fantastic!!! Have a great time 🙂

I fell in love instantly with Valencia, Barcelona, and Cartagena!

amoureuse October 2, 2012 - 5:13 pm

I immediately fell in love with both London and Edinburgh. I visited these countries during winter break while I was studying abroad in France and although I speak fluent French, I think I was just so comforted to be in an English speaking country again (where the accents are so amazing!) I love how these cities are more similar to home (Canada) than a lot of European countries, but of course they are still distinctly European at the same time.

Also – LOVE that photo of all the boots Brenna 🙂

This Battered Suitcase October 4, 2012 - 12:34 am

Jenna – Yes, you should definitely visit! It´s very touristy but lovely…

Sarah – Yes, I´m sure this blog will explode with photos of Machu Picchu soon. That´s great that you´re moving back to Halifax/Dartmouth – I miss it there so much!

Christine – Thank you! I haven´t been to Valencia, I will have to go one day!

Amoureuse – Yes, Edinburgh and London are both so wonderful! I can´t wait to explore more of the UK next year (I lived in Edinburgh four years ago and am moving to London in February). Thank you for your comment!

Laura October 9, 2012 - 8:07 am

Instantly loves would have to be York in England, Melbourne, and Rome! Somewhere that I can get lost for days and constantly see something new! I love looking at your pictures it gives me wanderlust!!

Bec March 21, 2014 - 7:59 am

Just wanted to say how much I love your blog, I got back from South America a month ago and reading through these entries is helping with the post holiday blues! Cusco was one of my favourite places too, such a lovely city 🙂

Brenna Holeman March 21, 2014 - 10:58 am

Oh great! Thanks a lot for letting me know. I miss South America, too…


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