The middle portion of Mariel’s and my trip through Peru was in Cusco – a city perched among the clouds at 11,000 foot elevation. Short of breath, we explored this city for three days before embarking on our Inca Trail trek.

Cusco was pretty fantastic. It felt quaint, clean, safe and, while pretty touristy, it has maintained much of its colonial charm. We started drinking Coca Tea right away, to stave off altitude sickness – it didn’t help Mariel though, who had to spend the first night in Cusco in the hospital. I spent it with her.

It didn’t dampen our trip though. The beauty of Cusco is as much in its people as it is in the masonry, the history and the food.