We spent all this week hanging about our apartment, watching dvds and generally avoiding the cold, wet weather we had. The last of the short stay guests left the hostel this week which means it is just us, the family who lives here and another guy who works at the school where Matt works who is looking to stay indefinitely.
Of course I couldn't let the last guest go without taking her out for a drink or two so we went to Museo Pisco and had a couple of their "Pisco" based delights - namely the infamous Pisco Sour and another beverage called the Pisco Passion (highly recommended if you like passionfruit).
Little Miss 8 is enjoying her homeschool for the most part (with the exception of math and science) but she is enjoying the freedom which comes with it.
We did wander to the artesan market to stock up on some more souvenirs for the family and after being here a couple of months, felt it was time to purchase another pair of bedsocks as the weather in the evening can get quite cool!
We are a few steps closer into moving into an apartment and formalising our long stay visas but it all takes time (and an endless amount of paperwork).
If the weather is nice, we might even endeavour to visit Parque Urpicha as we haven't been there in a week or so and the kids are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
We survived our first week of homeschooling, viewed an apartment and signed a lease. So here we are almost 2 months in, Matt has a job and all being well we should be moving into our own 3 bedroom apartment next week. The location is not ideal (we are in more of an industrial area out by the airport) however the apartment itself is big so we have decided to take it on that merit.
Otherwise life has been fairly regular - work, cooking, school, more cooking. We did venture out to a local restaurant for lunch one day this week. Interesting to know that if you have a menu-based meal you get whatever is served up for the day. In most cases it is rice and fish, chicken or another meat with a soup and generally pretty cheap.
And today we all strolled down to the Plaza de Armas for morning tea and to see what was happening - turns out nothing much so we came home and relaxed for the afternoon. Although saying that, yesterday we took a stroll down to the fruit and vegetable market and there was dancing there - so we never know what we are going to see each day when we head outside our door!
We are settling in to life in Cusco - and like it for the variation that life has to offer.
Inspired by the subject of the Vikings we have been studying this week since we commenced homeschooling, Little Miss 8 has dubbed our school "Greenland High". Happy to be doing creative homework and studying a fun and interesting subject, she is all smiles this evening.
This will change once we start doing multiplication no doubt!
But I hope we manage to see the smiles for as long as possible particularly when they look so pretty!
Lazy days, coffee in the Plaza, familiarising ourselves with the streets of Cusco, visiting the markets, whiling away the hours at the internet cafe, visiting the park and just hanging out is what life consists of these days - and we aren't complaining.
I love being somewhere new and although we have visited most of the areas that tourists visits, we now have the time to really get to know the heart of the city as the locals see it.
Little Miss 8 is looking to pen an adventure book based in Peru (she has the ideas and wants Mum to write it - however she is willing to give me a full author credit alongside her own name). Isn't she sweet! We just need someone to assist us with the illustrations but I am sure it won't be too much of a problem once we actually have a completed manuscript to work with.
Somehow finding time to write a book alongside all of the lazy days we have been experiencing is kind of tricky but we are more than a few pages in which is encouraging. I just have to try to keep up with Little Miss 8's run-away brain as she is already planning book number 2! My guess is it will end up being a trilogy of sorts but we are going to see how number 1 goes before we get too far ahead of ourselves.
The kids love visiting the markets whenever we get a chance and enjoy browsing and exploring the things available for sale. Cusco (and surrounding areas) has some lovely things for sale from jewellery, toy alpacas, hats, gloves, scarves, handbags and the other usual array of goodies which are seen in tourist populated areas, and the prices are pretty reasonable.
Haggling is expected and required if you want to get a good price and it is just part and parcel when travelling around a country like Peru.
We rarely buy although regularly visit - our family seem to be expert at "window shopping". Lucky our suitcases don't have more room in them otherwise we might be more tempted to pick up some goodies to keep for ourselves.
I love visiting the local market which happens to be very close to the hostel where we are living.
The ladies love to see us wander around the fruit and vegetable aisles and smile when they see us coming.
Our limited Spanish can be very interesting at times but we seem to be fairly successful when it comes to interacting with them and making our purchases. While sometimes we are unsure if they are charging more because we are foreigners, for the most part, the prices are very reasonable particularly as the produce seems to be very fresh.
We have been eating delicious avocados, tomatoes and cucumbers most days for lunch and dining on a variety of vegetable choices for dinner. Mushrooms seemed to be elusive, up until yesterday, but otherwise we have been able to find everything we have been looking for.
If only cheddar cheese was as easy to find?
Little Miss 8 and I went out for a walk and decided to take a different route home which took us up streets we had never ventured to before. I love her enthusiasm for visiting new places and walking around strange areas and as the weather was nice, it was great to take the time to do it without Master 3 in tow.
The walk home took us a little higher up the mountain than we were used to which gave us some lovely views of the streets below.
Now that we are getting used to finding our way round Cusco - we can start becoming more experimental in the routes we take.
Sometimes the kids have the best ideas!
Little Miss 8 has been heading over to the internet cafe the last few days to have some time to herself. She loves to play Moshi Monsters and it enables her brother to have a nap in peace and gives her some quiet time.
She is happy sitting there alone although is perfectly content to have me sit beside her as well.
It helps she has a never ending supply of bubble gum and whatever else the cafe supplies while she is sitting there.
We take our fun whenever we can get it!
Well after a week or so of just hanging about the city, we thought we would take a double decker bus around the city as we hadn´t done anything particularly touristy in a while. The kids were always excited to see the double decker buses drive around Plaza de Armas, so today it was our turn.
We hadn´t even been into the Plaza for a couple of days and this time the old statue was replaced by a brand new water fountain so the kids were happy to see that and of course wanted to put their hands in, etc.
We knew the bus ride was only going to be a hour and a half long which was a great length for the kids.
Funnily enough the bus trip didn´t take us anywhere we hadn´t been before - it did a tour of the various plazas and then took us out to the Sacsayhuaman and Cristo Blanco direction. It was good to see all of Cusco in one fun perspective and the weather was lovely and warm which was a bonus.
I never tire of seeing the mountains and the city as they provide amazing views which Matthew refers to as "our mountains". He figures everything he sees is ours these days which makes us very lucky indeed!
If there was anything I wanted to achieve in this lifetime, it was to go to Machu Picchu.
Well guess what - I finally got there and before I turned 50 (yes I do still have quite a few more years to go before I get there!)
All that you would expect and more.
We had a fun (and somewhat emotional) train journey there - Master 3 in particular loved the trip.
Little Miss 8 was just happy to have some quiet time to play her 3DS.
The train was a wonderful part of the trip as it really allowed us to focus on where we were going and why - you could see that everyone who was on the train were very much looking forward to their trip.
And who doesn't love a good train trip?
Machu Picchu Pueblo is a lovely place - very touristy but we had fun wondering the little streets and promised the kids we would take them to the hot springs the following afternoon, once we had been to Machu Picchu.
To them, the hot springs was the highlight (and the ice cream we purchased at Ollantaytambo while waiting for the train) - to us it was the very awe-inspiring mountains and set of complexes that hopefully once they are older will come to appreciate.
Our only issue was that we wished we had stayed in Machu Picchu Pueblo longer than the one evening.
We (and the kids) were very tired after a bus and train trip on the first day, a 5am start on the second day, a walk around the complex, a trip to the springs and then the return train and bus journey home. But hindsight is a great thing.
So if you are going to Machu Picchu - my recommendation is not to rush the trip.
There is no shortage of hotels and good restaraunts in the town so take the time to appreciate it a bit more - after all it is probably a once in a lifetime trip for most people who visit the area and the ruins.
And yes it is as awesome as the photos make out.
Michelle - traveller, writer, mother, lover and friend.