Today I went to Pisaq to visit the Sunday market. This involved a taxi ride to a bus station where we were picked up by a van. It was a very cramped and crazy ride where you really get to know your neighbor!
Pisaq is a city about an hour away from Cusco that has a huge market on certain days of the week. I believe that Sunday is the biggest market. I will be returning next week to see the archeological site in the city. The streets here were really beautiful. There was a canal down the middle of the streets (for draining water, I assume) and there were carved bricks that lined the canal.
One thing I loved was the fact that the city was in a valley. I have been on mountains. I have seen mountains. I don’t believe that I have ever been in a valley. The mountains were very impressive from this angle. There were some steps built into some of the mountains. It was all gorgeous.
I should have taken more pictures of the stalls, but maybe I’ll get more next week. The market was very hectic. There was a section that only had produce. The rest of the market was more material goods. There was the usual assortment of alpaca clothing, but there were also some more professionally made clothing. There were a lot of textiles, such as blankets, scarves, table runners, and more, I’m sure. There was a fair amount of clay bowels, and lots of jewelry. There were also a lot of carved stone statues. I would say more about what I got, but some of it is a gift.
I was hoping to be able to buy a bunch of small items to have as reserve gifts for when I don’t know what to get someone, but I wasn’t sure what would work well for that. I may get some things like that when I return. For example, some of the small stone statues were pretty cheap (and small… would people take offense at getting a gift that is small as a quarter? …or at getting a llama or a frog statue as a gift? I guess that I could get some of the larger ones… but it’d still be a llama or a frog…) There are also some little clay bird whistles. They are shaped like a bird and you fill it with water and blow into it. It makes a very cool bird sound. They cost about a dollar each, so I may get several for random presents.
I finished shopping (aka ran out of cash…) so I decided to eat. My roommates had suggested a restaurant called the Blue Llama. They had a sign that said visa, so I went in and found out that that meant they had an ATM. Anyway, I got more money and decided to go ahead and eat here.
The interior had very interesting decorating styles. It was a little child-like but in an adult manner. For example, a lot of the decorations were drawn on the wall in a very realistic style, but it also was reminiscent of crayons in some areas if you looked at the lines.
Once again, I decided to get the menú. I asked the waiter what she recommended and went with that.
I started with pumpkin soup. That really made me want to laugh. In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess there is a part where you help to make a pumpkin/cheese soup. That always seemed funny to me because of the way it fit into the game (not to mention… how long does he carry that soup before he drinks it??) Despite (or maybe because of) the humor, the soup was really fantastic. I do wonder if it was really pumpkin or if that was a translation discrepancy. It may be some sort of squash that doesn’t have an easy translation. Either way, it was wonderful. It was hot and creamy with a nice smooth flavor that wasn’t bland and wasn’t overpowering. The little bit of cheese on the top was really good with it, although there wasn’t quite enough for the soup. (While I’m on the topic of soups, I don’t think that peruvians know the meaning of a cup of soup. This bowl was about the size of my head!)
Next, I got the meat lasagna. By this point, I was pretty full from the soup, but I didn’t want to waste the food. This was pretty good, but it is not what I think of when I think of lasagna. It was thin with a little bit of meat sauce and a lot of cheese!
For my last item, I got some cinnamon and clove tea. It was served at the end of the meal, and it was pretty good. Not my favorite, but still good.
The meal was very good, and I would be happy to come back just for the soup! The service was a little slow, but I’m starting to think that this is normal around here (that, or I am missing some important restaurant etiquette!).
Overall, I was very happy with my entire trip. It was beautiful and I got almost all of my planned shopping done. I also know what to look for next Sunday, now!